Jail for debtor who cheated car rental firms

He rented four Mercs and passed them to loan sharks in Malaysia to settle his debts

To settle his debts, Soh Wei Siang drove four rental Mercedes-Benz cars, worth more than $600,000, to Malaysia and handed them to loan sharks.

Soh, who pleaded guilty to criminal breach of trust, was jailed for three years and four months yesterday.

District Judge Low Wee Ping described his crimes as "very audacious" and "very easy to commit". Therefore, a stiff sentence was required to discourage such offences, he explained.

In 2008, the unemployed Soh took loans from several illegal moneylenders. Unable to settle his debts, he agreed to rent five cars and hand them over to the loan sharks in exchange for $15,000.

On Oct 21 and 22 that year, he rented a Mercedes-Benz S280, two E200 Kompressor models and a CLK 200 from rental agencies in Eunos, Opera Estate, Woodlands and Sembawang before driving them into Malaysia.

Each time, he would meet the loan sharks, then follow them in the car and leave it as instructed. He would then return to Singapore in a taxi.

But after the fourth trip, he realised the police would be looking for him.

The loan sharks told him they had little money left for him after settling his debts and expenses. They urged him to go to Vietnam and Thailand, where he spent the next 13 months.

He then returned to Malaysia, where he was arrested on Oct 24 last year. He was handed over to Singapore immigration officers on Dec 11.

For committing criminal breach of trust, Soh, 30, could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined.

khush@sph.com.sg

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