Police haul up 20 suspects over e-commerce and commercial scams involving $200,000

The police said that the 20 people, aged between 17 and 57, were involved in 51 cases.
The police said that the 20 people, aged between 17 and 57, were involved in 51 cases.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - The police have hauled up 16 men and four women to assist in investigations for their suspected involvement in e-commerce scams and offences related to commercial crimes.

In a statement on Friday evening (Sept 14), the police said that the 20 people, aged between 17 and 57, were believed to be involved in 51 cases.

The victims of these scams lost a total of $200,846.

Five of the suspects are believed to have carried out online scams advertising the sale of motorcycle parts and K-pop merchandise, as well as investment scams where victims responded to online advertisements promising quick returns.

Another 11 suspects are believed to have allowed their bank accounts to be used by criminals to facilitate scams, including ones which involved advertising the sale of Universal Studios Singapore tickets, concert tickets and mobile phones on online retail platform Carousell.

The remaining four are believed to be involved in separate cases of cheating and criminal breach of trust.

Officers from Jurong Police Division rounded up the suspects in a four-day operation that started on Tuesday.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Devrajan Bala, the division's commander, commended his officers on their determination in pursuing leads and in rounding up the suspects.

He added that the police "take a serious view" against people involved in scams and frauds, and that it "will not let up in its efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice".

In the statement, the police said that 17 suspects are being investigated for cheating under the Penal Code, or for money laundering under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act.

If convicted for cheating, they could be jailed for up to 10 years with a fine each. If they are found guilty of money laundering, they could each be jailed for up to 10 years, fined up to $500,000, or both.

The remaining three suspects are being investigated for the offence of criminal breach of trust as servant. They could be jailed for up to 15 years and fined if convicted.

The police advised the public not to share personal information such as identification or bank account numbers, and to buy goods only from authorised dealers.

To avoid being an accomplice to crimes, the public should always reject requests by others to use their bank accounts or cellphone lines as they could be held accountable if these accounts are linked to illegal transactions, the police added.

More information on scams can be found at scamalert.sg or from the police's anti-scam hotline on 1800-722-6688.

Anyone with information on scams may call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000 or submit information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness