Man used fake gold bars to dupe two pawnshops

An unemployed man managed to dupe not one but two pawnshops into handing over a total of $14,000 for eight so-called "gold bars". But the items were only plated with the precious metal.

Tan Jieshou, now 33, who received $700 for his role in the ruse, was sentenced yesterday to 13 months and six weeks in jail, with six strokes of the cane, after pleading guilty to being in possession of two weapons in public, assault, verbally abusing a police officer and a cheating charge involving $7,000.

Another cheating charge involving $7,000 and a count of criminal intimidation were considered during sentencing. The offences were committed between October 2015 and September last year.

The court heard that two unidentified men approached Tan at a Geylang coffee shop on Sept 10 last year and asked if he could help pawn four gold bars. Claiming they were not Singaporeans, they promised him 5 per cent of the sum received as commission. He agreed to help, and they drove him to a Maxi-Cash branch in Yishun. He showed the bars to an employee, and lied that they were inherited from his grandfather.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Sheryl Yeo said: "The victim would have rejected the bars and first asked for a receipt of purchase had the accused not represented that they were inherited from his grandfather."

After receiving $7,000 from the staff, Tan handed over the money to the men and got his commission.

According to court documents, he pulled a similar stunt at a nearby pawnshop that day and got another $7,000. It is not clear if he knew the bars were fake, or if the other two men have been arrested.

In addition, said DPP Yeo, police were deployed to Marina Mandarin Singapore hotel on Oct 25, 2015, after Tan, previously a part-time waiter there, behaved aggressively towards a staff member. He was arrested as officers suspected he had consumed drugs. While in detention, he verbally abused an officer.

On Feb 15 last year, he repeatedly hit his girlfriend after finding a Valentine's Day greeting from another man in her mobile phone. About seven months later, he was arrested after being found in possession of two knives in a Geylang Road toilet.

"The accused did not provide any lawful purpose and did not have lawful authority for possession of these offensive weapons," said DPP Yeo.

For cheating, he could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined. For possession of the weapons, he could have been jailed for up to three years, with at least six strokes of the cane.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 06, 2017, with the headline 'Man used fake gold bars to dupe two pawnshops'. Print Edition | Subscribe