Unemployed man pawned fake branded watches to cheat pawnshops

The watches, kept in boxes, were accompanied by fraudulent certificates of authenticity.
The watches, kept in boxes, were accompanied by fraudulent certificates of authenticity.PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - Together with two conspirators, a man cheated pawnshops of nearly $100,000 earlier this year by pawning them counterfeit timepeices that were passed off as genuine Audermars Piguet watches.

Fong Kheng Yue, 44, then received about $10,000 from his alleged accomplice, who gave him the fake Audemars Piguet watches.

On Tuesday, Fong, who is unemployed, was jailed for 18 months after admitting to three of eight charges of abetment by conspiracy to cheat Heng Seng Pawnshop, Moneymax Pawnshop and Soon Yi Pawnshop between Jan 11 and Feb 1 this year.

The total amount involved in the eight charges is $98,000.

Cases against two others, Lam Chan Pieu, 30, and Chen Zhiwei, 33, are pending.

A district court heard that early this year, Lam allegedly told Fong that he had some counterfeit watches which could be pawned as authentic Audemars Piguet watches.

The watches, kept in boxes, were accompanied by fraudulent certificates of authenticity.

Fong agreed to the plan as it was a "good and quick way to earn money".

As part of the conspiracy, he would keep 10 per cent of the proceeds on the pledge, and deliver the remaining sum to Lam.

As the pawnshops targeted required guarantors, Lam would either stand as the guarantor himself, contact Chen to stand as guarantor or provide Fong with identity cards of individuals to use when pledging the watches.

On Jan 11, Fong deceived Heng Seng Pawnshop Company at Lorong 6 Toa Payoh into believing that the fake watch pledged was an authentic Audemars Piguet, and induced the pawnshop to deliver $13,000 to him.

Two days later, he and Chen entered Moneymax Pawnshop at Tampines Central 1 and conned the shop into delivering $15,000 to Fong.

Fong went to Soon Yi Pawnshop in Woodlands Street 31 on Feb 1 and got away with $14,000 after pledging the fake watch.

Fong, who received about $10,000 for his involvement in the conspiracy, was arrested three days later at Changi Airport, a day after a Valuemax Pawnshop appraiser lodged a police report.

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

elena@sph.com.sg