Trio get 10 months for cheating, another jailed four months for receiving stolen money

SINGAPORE - Three Chinese nationals who conned a woman of $10,000 by teaming up to sell her computer parts were jailed 10 months each on Tuesday.

Another accomplice, who received stolen money, was jailed for four months.

The four had flown to Singapore from China with numerous packets of electronic components with the intention of deceiving elderly victims into buying them by claiming they were valuable.

Li Qiangqing, 53, Zhu Zhaozong, 48, and Wei Shuihong, 50, who carried out the fraudulent act to cheat Madam Lye Ah Mui, 62, were given 10 months each while Wei Wendong, 49, was given the lower sentence for receiving $1,000, having reason to believe the money represented his accomplices' benefits from criminal conduct.

The court heard that Wei Shuihong pretended to ask the victim for directions when she was alone at a market in Tampines on Jan 13 this year. While they were talking, he "dropped" one of the electronic parts.

Zhu then showed up and asked Shuihong what the product was. Shuihong claimed it was a valuable computer part which he was selling for $50 apiece.

Li then joined in and told Zhu he was willing to buy the parts at $80 each.

Zhu then told the victim he wanted to buy 800 of the items from Shuihong, and sell them to Li for a profit. But he said he did not have enough money and asked the victim if she wanted to chip in.

The victim agreed to buy $10,000 worth of parts and went home to get the cash.

After receiving the $10,000, from her, Zhu told her to wait at a void deck for Li. He then left with Shuihong, claiming they needed to collect the parts.

When Li failed to show up, the victim realised she had been duped and called the police.

Two days later, the trio were arrested at Fragrance Hotel Rose in Balestier Road, and nearly $12,000 seized from Zhu and Li.

District Judge Victor Yeo agreed with the prosecution that a clear message must be sent to deter like-minded offenders from coming to Singapore to commit crimes especially towards vulnerable victims. He noted that this was a group offence and a high level of planning was involved.

The maximum penalty for cheating is 10 years' jail and a fine. For receiving stolen property, the maximum is five years and a fine.