Elderly woman charged with 169 counts of cheating

Tan Hwee Ngo, 67, faces 169 charges for cheating Tan Soy Kiang.
Tan Hwee Ngo, 67, faces 169 charges for cheating Tan Soy Kiang.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - A 67-year-old woman was charged on Thursday (June 1) with 169 counts of cheating.

Dishwasher Tan Hwee Ngo allegedly duped petrol station pump attendant Tan Soy Kiang, now 72, into believing that payments were needed for Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

However, court papers did not mention if she was referring to the country's late former prime minister.

Tan Hwee Ngo allegedly committed the offences between 1999 and 2013, and the court heard her cases involved about $200,000 in all.

In June 1999, she is accused of dishonestly inducing Mr Tan Soy Kiang into withdrawing $53,161.64 from his Central Provident Fund Savings account by saying payments were needed for Mr Lee.

From then on, she allegedly used the same reason to cheat Mr Tan Soy Kiang.

According to court documents, he allegedly gave at least $500 every month starting January 2000 to their friend, retired cleaner Boo Sok Hiang, then 69.

The Straits Times understands that Madam Boo died last year.

Tan Hwee Ngo allegedly cheated Tan Soy Kiang (above) into believing that payments were needed for Lee Kuan Yew. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

Mr Tan Soy Kiang's case came to light when his niece, Ms Pamela Lim returned from Australia in 2013 after living there for 15 years and discovered that her uncle had been giving his money away.

She confronted the alleged scammers the following year before alerting the police.

Mr Tan Soy Kiang, who used to live alone, once held two jobs.

From 7am to 11.30am, the bachelor worked as a cleaner along Kim Keat Avenue, earning about $1,000 a month.

Then, 4pm to 10.30pm, he worked as a pump attendant - his current job - earning another $1,000 a month.

Boo Sok Hiang, one of the two women who cheated Tan Soy Kiang,. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

Ms Lim told The Straits Times on Thursday that he has stopped working as a cleaner since investigations started.

The mother-of-three said: "He is now living with me and is doing well. My kids adore him."

Tan Hwee Ngo was offered a bail of $20,000.

She is represented by lawyer Mathew Kurian from Regent Law and will be back in court on June 22.

For each count of cheating, she can be jailed up to seven years and fined.