10 people under investigation for illegally redeeming reusable face masks from vending machines

Members of the public at vending machines stocked with masks at Jalan Besar Community Club. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - Seven teenagers and a 12-year-old boy are being investigated by the police for an alleged cheating case after illegally redeeming more than 90 reusable masks from vending machines put up by Temasek Foundation across the island.

They are among 10 people being investigated by the authorities in three separate cases of cheating, the police said on Friday (Dec 11).

In another case, a 47-year-old woman was arrested after she was accused of using illegally obtained personal information to redeem more than 460 reusable face masks from a vending machine at Yio Chu Kang Community Centre.

A 33-year-old woman is also under investigation for the alleged unauthorised redemption of two reusable face masks from a vending machine at Tanjong Pagar Community Centre.

"Preliminary investigations revealed that these cases are believed to be unrelated. Footages from police cameras and CCTV cameras fixed in the vending machines have aided the police in the identification of these suspects," the police said.

The police further said it has received similar reports in other residential estates, and are intensifying its efforts to arrest perpetrators and bring them to justice.

"If you spot any suspicious persons loitering near any reusable masks vending machines, please contact the police at 999 immediately," it said in its statement.

Anyone facing difficulties redeeming their reusable face masks may contact Temasek Foundation at 1800-738-2000 from 9am to 9pm daily until Dec 13, or via e-mail at this address.

The offence of cheating carries a jail term of up to 10 years, a fine, or both, while retaining illegally obtained personal information brings a jail term of up to three years, a maximum fine of $10,000, or both.

Last month, Second Minister for Finance Indranee Rajah disclosed that a total of 55 people had been arrested for stealing Budget 2020 grocery vouchers from letterboxes at Housing Board blocks across the island.

The grocery voucher scheme helps lower-income Singaporeans with their household expenses, and the vouchers can be used at participating supermarkets.

About 150,000 sets of vouchers, each worth $150, were sent via tracked registered mail to eligible Singaporeans in October. A total of 229 sets, or less than 0.2 per cent, were reported stolen, Ms Indranee added.

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