4 of 7 youths allegedly linked to OCBC phishing scams accused of other offences

On Feb 18, all seven were each handed one charge of helping others retain the benefits of criminal conduct around December last year. ST PHOTO: THADDEUS ANG

SINGAPORE - Four of the seven youths charged in court over their alleged links to phishing scams targeting OCBC Bank customers are also accused of other unrelated offences, including robbery and rioting.

Last Friday (Feb 18), all seven were each handed one charge of helping others retain the benefits of criminal conduct around December last year.

Five of them are now 19 years old. They are: Jovan Soh Jun Yan, Brayden Cheng Ming Yan, Muhammad Khairuddin Eskandariah and two teenage boys who cannot be named as they were below 18 years old when they allegedly committed their other offences.

Those below 18 are covered under the Children and Young Persons Act.

The other two alleged offenders are Leong Jun Xian, 20, and Lim Kai Ze, 21.

Khairuddin, Cheng and Lim now face one charge each. They are accused of offences under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act (CDSA).

The four others - Soh, Leong and the two teens who cannot be named - each face between three and 10 charges for offences under CDSA as well as other crimes, including robbery.

One of the 19-year-olds who cannot be named has the most number of charges - 10.

He was just 17 when he allegedly started his crime spree on June 9, 2020, by misappropriating a debit card.

He is said to have committed cheating three days later when he allegedly used the card to buy items including cigarettes and cat food at two supermarkets. The items cost nearly $50 in all.

He is accused of unlawfully meeting three other people at the void deck of a Simei Road block of flats amid the Covid-19 outbreak at around 5pm on May 17 last year.

The group is then said to have worked together to rob an individual of items worth nearly $1,500 in all at the void deck. They included a mobile phone, a Gucci cap and a portable charger.

The teenager is also accused of unlawfully leaving his home amid the pandemic four days later.

After that, he allegedly went to a building in Paya Lebar Road to meet 28 other people. Court documents do not state what they did there.

Around December last year, he allegedly helped another person retain the benefits of criminal conduct.

Meanwhile, the second teenager, who cannot be named, and Leong each face four charges.

The duo are said to be members of the same secret society between February 2020 and January last year.

They are accused of rioting with other alleged offenders on Nov 20, 2020. Members of the group are said to have punched and kicked three people in New Bridge Road that day.

The two are said to have committed rioting again with other alleged offenders in January last year.

This time, the group is accused of punching and kicking an individual at the void deck of a block of flats in Bedok North Road.

The pair allegedly committed offences under CDSA around December last year.

Soh faces three charges in all, including one under CDSA.

He is accused of cheating Standard Chartered Bank on July 16 last year.

According to court documents, he allegedly duped it into believing that he was the sole operator of a bank account. The bank then allegedly opened one in his name.

After that, Soh is said to have provided the username and password of the account to an unknown person.

Soh allegedly did so "for the purpose of effecting transactions on (a) computer system of the... bank" without being authorised to do so by it.

The cases involving all seven of them have been adjourned to Friday (Feb 25).

To date, 13 people aged between 19 and 22 have been arrested for their suspected involvement in the recent spate of scams targeting OCBC Bank customers.

The police said in an earlier statement that the 13 comprise nine men and four women.

In all, 790 customers lost $13.7 million to the phishing scams, which took place in December and last month.

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