Man who printed fake barcode stickers to cheat supermarkets sentenced to 6 months' jail

Zhang Bobo was sentenced to six months' jail after admitting to four charges of cheating involving $2,354.
Zhang Bobo was sentenced to six months' jail after admitting to four charges of cheating involving $2,354.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - A provision store owner printed his own barcode stickers and fixed them on various items in supermarkets to obtain them at lower prices, a court heard.

On Wednesday (March 30), Zhang Bobo, a 27-year-old Singaporean, was sentenced to six months' jail after admitting to four charges of cheating involving $2,354. Another seven similar charges and two attempted cheating charges were considered in sentencing.

The total amount in all the cheating charges is $4,282 and Zhang has since made full restitution to Cold Storage and Giant.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Sanjiv Vaswani said that, some time in August last year, Zhang had some financial problems.

After observing self-checkout counters at various supermarkets, he hatched a plan to make money by reselling baby milk powder obtained from supermarkets.

He would print barcode stickers using his store's label printer. The stickers were for a low price. He would then go to supermarkets and paste his stickers on tins of milk powder and scan the items at the self-checkout counter.

He was at Giant Tampines on Nov 1 last year when he pasted false price tags on six milk powder tins, a cooker and a vacuum cleaner. He scanned and paid for the items as Marigold evaporated milk at $1.25 each.

He thus deceived the supermarket into believing that the goods cost $10 when the actual amount was $630.

He sold the milk powder online to make up for the losses he had suffered in running his provision shop business.

Over the next two days, he cheated the supermarket in the same manner, causing Giant to lose about $1,190.

On Nov 6, he went back to Giant Tampines and cheated the company of $547.

He was caught at Cold Storage supermarket at Eastwood Road on Nov 5 last year when he tried to cheat by paying $6 for three tins of milk powder worth $493.

Appealing for compassion and mercy, defence counsel Han Hean Juan said his client was very remorseful for what he had done.

The shop Zhang was running was financed by his father who was pressuring him to return a debt, he told the court.

Zhang, who is married to a Chinese national and has a young daughter, was allowed to defer sentence until April 27 as he is trying to sell the shop.

He could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined on each charge.