Man jailed for molestation and offences including cheating involving over $1 million

Chong Wee Yew admitted to 11 counts of cheating linked to over $200,000. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - A man who cheated and misappropriated monies from 77 victims and molested one of them twice at Marina Bay Sands (MBS) was sentenced to seven years and seven months' jail.

Chong Wee Yew's offences involved more than $1 million in total.

The 56-year-old Singaporean was sentenced on Friday (May 21) after pleading guilty to two molestation charges and four counts of criminal breach of trust involving more than $500,000.

He also admitted to 11 counts of cheating linked to more than $200,000. Chong has made no restitution to his victims.

Another 103 charges involving the remaining amount were taken into consideration during sentencing. Chong committed all of his offences in 2016 and 2017.

Deputy public prosecutors Samyata Ravindran and Rashvinpal Kaur Dhaliwal said that Chong was a member of the MBS casino. He received free hotel stays which he later sold off for cash.

He then decided to expand his "business" by buying such stays from other members and selling them to interested buyers.

The DPPs said that some buyers found out about his services through word of mouth. He also advertised them on online sales platform Carousell.

The prosecutors added: "The accused advertised that he could provide cheap or even free hotel stays. He priced the rooms very low or sometimes even at $0, but would ask the customers to pay a deposit per room per night.

"This was done so that he could attract as many customers as possible as he was desperate for money to fund his gambling habit."

Chong would then tell the buyers to either hand him cash or deposit monies into his bank accounts. He misappropriated the monies soon after. The court heard that some rooms were utilised while others were not booked.

Separately, Chong also pitched several investment and business schemes to some of his victims who had bought hotel stays from him.

The DPPs said: "However, the accused's representations were false, because there were no such investment schemes and he would not be generating the returns, monthly dividends or fixed profits as represented.

"Moreover, the accused intended to use the monies he received from these investors to pay out returns to initial investors, to buy rooms for earlier customers and fund his gambling habit."

He duped five victims into parting with more than $200,000 this way between December 2016 and September 2017.

One victim was a 29-year-old woman whom Chong cheated of cash totalling more than $75,000. She cannot be named due to a gag order to protect her identity.

Chong also misappropriated $6,500 from her and molested her on two separate occasions in late 2017.

On Sept 27 that year, he invited her to MBS as she had asked him to return her money. The pair were in a room there to discuss the matter when he molested her.

Chong then tried to hug and kiss the distressed woman when she stood up to leave.

"The victim was able to avoid his hug and prevent the accused from kissing her by using her hand to cover her mouth. The victim then left the room," said the DPPs.

The court heard that the woman, who was "desperate" to get back her money, agreed to meet Chong in an MBS hotel room the following month.

He molested her again and she lodged a police report in January 2018.

The prosecutors said that the acts of molestation "severely affected" the woman, adding: "She is now fearful to be in the company of her male friends. Further, she ended her relationship with her boyfriend of two years, because she did not want to have physical contact with any man."

For each count of cheating, an offender can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.

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