Man , 23, charged over DHL parcel scam

Accused is said to have received $30,100 stolen from a woman's bank account

A 23-year-old man was charged yesterday over his alleged involvement in a parcel scam.

Moi Chee Hou, a Malaysian, is accused of receiving $30,100 in his bank account, knowing it had been stolen by a person named "Alvin".

Police received a report on July 4 from a 32-year-old woman, who said that she had received a call from an unknown person claiming to work for DHL.

She was told that her parcel contained illegal goods and had been detained by Chinese Customs.

The call was then transferred to another person, whose number was reflected in the caller ID as "999". The man on the other line claimed to be from the police.

The woman was asked to provide her Internet banking credentials and she later discovered that about $36,000 had been transferred to an unknown bank account.

Police believe Moi has been involved in at least five other similar cases in which the victims lost a total of about $90,000.

His case will be mentioned again next month. Bail was not granted.

The maximum punishment for dishonestly receiving stolen property is five years' jail and a fine.

Last week, police arrested three men, aged between 21 and 22, for their suspected involvement in a similar parcel scam in which an elderly woman handed over $50,000. She was told that her parcel contained illegal goods and was detained by Chinese Customs.

The caller then threatened her with legal action and instructed her to transfer the money to an unknown local bank account so that the authorities would not pursue the matter.

Police managed to establish the identity of the 21-year-old suspect who withdrew the money from a bank. Officers arrested him in Ang Mo Kio Hub and the two others in Tuas on the same day.

Police urged members of the public to take precautions when they receive calls from unknown parties.

It said last month that more than $4 million had been lost by victims of phone scams since March, and more than 50 reports had been received over the same time period. In most cases, callers use the same modus operandi.

A spokesman for DHL said last month that it had received more than 200 reports a day regarding the scam. The company has filed a police report.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 21, 2016, with the headline 'Man , 23, charged over DHL parcel scam'. Print Edition | Subscribe