2 men charged over alleged involvement in impersonation scam

Two men have been charged over their alleged roles in an impersonation scam.

Ng Jee How, 46, and Chiw Meng Tong, 48, were each handed a charge for assisting another to retain benefits from criminal conduct yesterday.

Ng, a Malaysian and Singapore permanent resident, is alleged to have collected $230,000 from three people and handed $209,000 of the amount to Chiw.

The latter deposited $18,600 from that sum into unknown accounts and handed $186,000 to an unknown man.

In a release on Thursday, the police said they had received reports from five victims from July 18 to 29 last year.

The victims had handed over more than $1.5 million.

They were tricked into doing so by phone scammers who claimed to be officials from China and who accused them of being involved in transnational money-laundering crimes.

The victims said they handed the money over, believing it was to prove that their funds were not derived from illegal activities.

Investigations by the police found that Ng and Chiw had responded to a job listing on Facebook promising $300 for courier work.

The two followed instructions, collecting about $230,000 from three of the five victims.

They allegedly handed over the money to unknown persons, receiving $15,700 in commission.

The commission was surrendered to the police during investigations.

Both men are out on bail of $15,000 each, and their cases are expected to be heard again on July 9.

If convicted, they may each be jailed for up to 10 years, or fined up to $500,000, or both.

Members of the public are advised by the police to take the following precautions when they receive unsolicited calls asking them to part with their money:

1. Ignore the calls and caller's instructions.

2. Understand that no local government agency will demand payment through a phone call or social messaging platform, or demand that cash be handed over to strangers, or ask for personal banking information.

3. If they are not Singaporean, check with their embassy or high commission to verify the call.

4. Call a friend or relative before making any decisions.

The police added that the public should not collect money for strangers, especially if they are claiming to be law enforcement officers.

Those who have any information related to these scams or any doubts can call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000 or submit a report online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 12, 2021, with the headline '2 men charged over alleged involvement in impersonation scam'. Subscribe