20 months' jail for man who posed as cop to cheat victim of nearly $140,000 in cash and jewellery

SINGAPORE - A sales executive posed as a policeman and worked with three Bangladeshi foreign workers to cheat their victim of nearly $140,000 in cash and jewellery.

Singaporean Ang Zhao Hong, 29, was sentenced on Wednesday (Oct 14) to 20 months' jail after pleading guilty to a cheating charge.

His three accomplices - Islam Md Nurul, 33, Babul Md, 35 and Sofian Abu, 38 - were each sentenced to a year's jail in June.

On Wednesday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Cheng Yuxi urged the court to give Ang a longer jail term than the trio.

She told District Judge Ong Luan Tze that Ang's role was the "most pivotal", as he was the one who had posed as a policeman to dupe Mr Suman, 45, who is also a Bangladeshi.

"(Ang) preyed on the fears of a group of foreign workers unfamiliar with our law enforcement systems," the DPP said, referring to Mr Suman and his friends.

"As a result, the victim was induced to deliver the cash and jewellery to him."

DPP Cheng also said that Ang retained "the lion's share" of the ill-gotten gains - a bag of cash containing $118,000.

The court heard that Ang knew Islam and Sofian, as they frequented his mobile phone shop in Race Course Lane. Islam later introduced Babul to Ang.

Around November last year, Babul found out that Mr Suman, who goes by only one name, was involved in collecting remittance money.

Mr Suman kept a large amount of cash in his room at the Zaman Centre in Roberts Lane off Serangoon Road because of this, the court heard.

All four men then decided to cheat him. They went to Zaman Centre on Nov 11 last year and Babul showed the others a room on the fourth floor where Mr Suman was staying at the time.

Islam then went downstairs to alert Ang who was waiting in a van.

While Sofian acted as a lookout, Ang went up to the room at around 12.30am, when he told Mr Suman and his friends that he was a police officer.

DPP Cheng said: "The accused ordered the victim and his friends to sit down and not move, and to place their work permits and mobile phones on a table... He asked the victim and his friends what they were doing, and whether they were operating an illegal remittance business, and began searching the room."

After that, Ang asked Mr Suman where he kept the money and the Bangladeshi pointed to a nearby bag.

He also told Mr Suman to remove some gold jewellery from a safe, before fleeing the premises with his loot. All four offenders then fled the scene in the van.

One of Mr Suman's friends alerted the police and officers later arrested the offenders.

Police recovered more than $90,000 in cash and all of the jewellery worth $21,875. Ang has made no restitution on the remaining monies.

For cheating, he could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined.