Brothers held captive in Penang: Woman jailed

Judy Wee Aye Fong received a jail sentence of seven years and six weeks for her role in an extortion case.
Judy Wee Aye Fong received a jail sentence of seven years and six weeks for her role in an extortion case.FILE PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

An unemployed woman was jailed for seven years and six weeks yesterday for her role in an extortion case in which two Singaporean men were held captive in Penang last year.

Judy Wee Aye Fong, 53, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to three counts of engaging in a conspiracy to extort cash totalling US$250,000 (S$354,750) from the loved ones of Mr Gabriel Ng Chia How, 27, and his brother Kenneth Ng Chee How, 28.

She was the second of three people involved in the case to be dealt with in a Singapore district court.

The first, Benjamin Ling Jialiang, 26, a former mobile phone shop worker, was jailed for two years and given one stroke of the cane on Feb 6. Their alleged accomplice, tuition teacher Fong Ling Ling, 46, has claimed trial. Her case is pending.

Wee knew a Chinese national, Huang Dong, who wanted to exchange 25 million Venezuelan bolivars (S$3.5 million) for US or Singapore currency.

Huang promised commissions for those who carried out the exchange, including Wee and Ling.

But after the money was transferred to a purported moneylender named Ali in exchange for S$1 million, he went missing. This amount was supposed to have been shared among the people involved, with Huang's share at US$250,000.

Huang instructed the Ng brothers to go to Penang on Feb 21 last year to locate Ali but they were held hostage at Georgetown Hotel and two men told them to pay US$250,000.

Mr Kenneth Ng called his father Anthony Ng Moi Keng, 64, and his fiancee Crystal Lim Chew Kwan, 29, for help.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Christine Liu told the court it was Huang who told Wee to contact Ms Lim and Mr Anthony Ng for the money on Feb 23 last year.

DPP Liu said: "The accused (Wee) followed up on the instructions of Huang by urging Anthony Ng to 'prepare the money quickly' and not to 'try something strange in Singapore' lest his sons 'have something strange'."

The US$250,000 was not delivered as Ling, Wee and Fong were arrested on Feb 24 last year in a joint operation involving the Singapore and Malaysian police.

The Ng brothers were found safe and in the company of four Malaysian men at a hotel in Penang. Yesterday, Wee's lawyer Gino Hardial Singh told District Judge Low Wee Ping that the four men had been dealt with in a Malaysian court. For wrongfully restraining the brothers, they were each jailed for a day and fined RM1,000 (S$318). Huang, based in China, remains at large.

Shaffiq Alkhatib

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 23, 2017, with the headline 'Brothers held captive in Penang: Woman jailed'. Print Edition | Subscribe