Duo charged with receiving stolen property

Malaysians Poon Hong Kuan (left) and Chow Zhi Hong (right) were nabbed on Monday over their alleged involvement in scams where con artists impersonated officials from China to extort money from people.
Malaysians Poon Hong Kuan (left) and Chow Zhi Hong (right) were nabbed on Monday over their alleged involvement in scams where con artists impersonated officials from China to extort money from people.ST PHOTOS: WONG KWAI CHOW

Two Malaysians were taken to a Singapore district court yesterday over their alleged involvement in a series of scams in which con artists pretended to be officials from China.

Poon Hong Kuan, 17, and Chow Zhi Hong, 33, are accused of dishonestly receiving stolen property - $100,000 in cash - from a man known as Chow Wai Chung.

The pair are said to have committed the offence last Friday and officers from the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) arrested them the following Monday.

The police said in a statement on Tuesday that the two Malaysians allegedly received criminal proceeds linked to such scams.

Officers managed to seize $590,000 in cash.

The Straits Times had earlier reported that this amount was the largest seized for any scam cases so far this year.

The police also said that the pair are believed to be involved in other similar cases.

There were 80 victims of such offences between January and April this year, more than double the 30 victims of such scams in the same period last year.

CAD director David Chew said: "These scams involve well-organised overseas syndicates that use automated phone calls and call-spoofing technology as well as social media messaging platforms... to target their victims.

"If a caller claims to be a foreign government official demanding money from you, you are advised to ignore their demands as this is in all likelihood a scam."

The police have also advised members of the public to ignore unsolicited calls to surrender money.

They said: "No government agency will demand payment through an undocumented medium like a telephone call or other social messaging platforms... or ask you for personal banking information such as your Internet banking passwords."

No bail was offered to the two men, who are now remanded at Central Police Division. They will be back in court on June 13.

Offenders convicted of receiving stolen property can be jailed for up to five years and fined.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 07, 2018, with the headline 'Duo charged with receiving stolen property'. Print Edition | Subscribe