Man who faced litany of charges including attempting to use fake $10k note sentenced to jail, caning and fine

SINGAPORE - When he was given some fake currency notes, Anson Tan Chin Siang did not alert the police but tried instead to use a $10,000 note he suspected was also a forgery at a moneychanger.

When that ruse failed, the 23-year-old tried to pay for a gold chain using the same note.

He was found out and the police were called.

On Thursday (March 21), Tan was sentenced to four years and four months' jail. He is also facing six strokes of the cane and a fine of $3,000.

In addition, Tan was disqualified from driving all classes of vehicles for 2 1/2 years for traffic offences related to a separate matter.

The debt collector pleaded guilty last month to a litany of charges including cheating, being in possession of a weapon, and attempting to use a counterfeit currency as genuine.

He also admitted to two drug-related charges, inconsiderate driving, and driving without a licence and insurance.

The court heard that Tan received $14,000 from one Fu Long in 2016 in the course of his debt recovery business.

He discovered that four of the five notes were fake as they bore the same serial number. The four notes were in the $1,000 denomination.

Tan suspected that the remaining $10,000 note was also a forgery.

After confronting Mr Fu, Tan went to a moneychanger and tried, but failed, to change the note to genuine currencies in smaller denominations.

He decided to use the fake note again in October the following year as he was facing financial difficulties.

He went to online marketplace Carousell and contacted Mr Ronald Wong Yew Loon, 36, to buy a gold chain from the older man for $13,338.

They met up in front of the Grand Hyatt Singapore hotel in Scotts Road at around 6pm on Oct 17, 2017, and Tan passed Mr Wong a red packet containing the counterfeit $10,000 note.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Ng Jean Ting said: "The complainant removed the $10,000 note from the packet and noticed that the note was smaller in size than a genuine currency note of that value, and that the texture of the note felt like paper with colour printing.

"He questioned the accused about whether the note was genuine and the accused drove his vehicle away without the gold chain."

Mr Wong lodged a police report later that evening.

Tan had tried to fool another Carousell seller earlier that year, using a different ruse.

On March 5, 2017, he met Mr Chng Eng Hwee, 69, in Bishan to buy a Rolex watch from the older man for $11,300.

He told Mr Chng that he would pay for it via ibanking transfer despite knowing that he had insufficient funds in his account.

Tan then showed the seller a screenshot of the purported cash transfer and duped him into handing over the watch.

Mr Chng alerted the police the next day when he realised that he had not received the cash.

Tan pawned the watch for $8,500 two days after collecting it.

The watch and $8,300 of the cash were later recovered, said DPP Ng.

Tan said he had used $200 for personal expenses.

Besides these cases, Tan also committed other offences including driving without a licence as well as methamphetamine consumption and possession.

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

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