Undischarged bankrupt conned victims of $470,000 by lying that he was Wong Kan Seng's brother

Wong Kok Keong conned four men of $470,000 while claiming to be then Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng's brother.
Wong Kok Keong conned four men of $470,000 while claiming to be then Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng's brother.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - Claiming to be then Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng's brother, an undischarged bankrupt conned four men of $470,000, a court heard.

Wong Kok Keong, also known as Wong Kock Khiang, 63, pleaded guilty earlier in March to cheating Mr Chiam Teck Hwa, 48, of $50,000 by making him believe that he was related to then DPM Wong and that he would invest Mr Chiam's money into a company relating to dialysis alongside his own money.

Wong had originally claimed trial for this 2011 offence as well as another charge, but threw in the towel after the first witness testified for the prosecution last month.

On Monday (March 21), Wong pleaded guilty to two more cheating offences and will have six others, mostly under the Bankruptcy Act, considered during his sentencing.

He admitted cheating Messrs Lim Swee Guan, 55, Chan Jee Khin, 42, and Heng Choon Leng, 45, shareholders of Manor Construction, of $180,000 on Sept 27, 2007. The trio were deceived into believing that the amount payable by Manor Construction was 20 per cent of the "option to purchase'' for a property at Yung Ho Road.

He also deceived them into believing that he had preferential shares in Advance Modules Group, which would rise to 50 cents a share, thus inducing them to give him $240,000 in October the same year.

A district court heard that the the trio came to know Wong through a business deal in 2007. During their introductions, Wong responded affirmatively when asked if he was related to or was then-DPM Wong's brother.

Sometime in September 2007, Wong told them that he knew the director of the company that had the lease of a plot of land at Yung Ho Road. He invited them to invest in the project, through Manor, for him to build a commercial building on it.

After the trio had given Wong $180,000, being 20 per cent of the "option to purchase'' the land worth $900,000, Wong encashed the cheque.

Despite repeated requests, he failed to deliver the documents pertaining to the payment.

In April 2008, he told them that the investment was unsuccessful and promised to return the $180,000.

Wong also cheated the trio of $240,000 for preferential shares in a listed company called Advance Modules. He had claimed that he was arranging for a deal with the company and that the shares would rise to 50 cents a share from the market price of 15 cents.

He later told the trio that he could not secure the purchase of the shares and promised to return the $240,000.

The court heard that he neither had the ability to secure any preferential shares nor have any such shares.

Wong has made partial restitution of about $200,000.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Hon Yi will present his submissions on sentence while defence counsel Edmond Pereira will mitigate on Wong's behalf on April 26.

elena@sph.com.sg