SINGAPORE - A Singaporean man abetted two Chinese nationals to fake a robbery and then lie to the police that an actual one had taken place.
They did this in order to extend the foreigners' stay in Singapore.
Lai Wei Tuck, 36, was sentenced to six months' jail on Friday (June 30) for intentionally aiding Ms Peng Mingying, 30, and Ms Zhang Xuemei, 32, in giving police officer Tan Hoe Peng false information.
Lai was also fined $30,000 for an unrelated offence of distributing money staked by others in remote gambling at Upper East Coast Road from March to September last year.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Lu Yiwei described how the fake robbery story unfolded on Jan 17 this year.
The women claimed Lai had robbed them after engaging Ms Peng for a massage. She had advertised her services on a few websites.
They said when he turned up at the rented unit at Dorset Road, Lai took out a knife-like object and demanded her valuables.
He then bound her with cable ties and took $1,700 in cash and her $200 mobile phone.
Ms Zhang said she then entered the room on hearing the commotion but Lai also tied her up.
The women said they called the police after Lai escaped.
Ms Zhang then discovered that $1,750 in cash and two phones were missing from her room.
But investigations showed the alleged armed robbery had been staged by Lai and the two women who were holding Special Passes.
The court heard the whole ruse started with a woman approaching Lai via website SG Wolf to take part in the fake robbery, for which he would be paid $5,000.
Lai coached the women to say they were robbed by two men. He also told them to say the robber was wearing black and to provide other details to "throw" off the police.
But when they were interviewed by police, the two women owned up out of fear and Lai was arrested on Jan 21.
The case against the two women is pending.
Lai could have been jailed for up to one year and/or fined up to $5,000 for abetting to give false information to a public servant.
The maximum penalty for remote gambling is a $200,000 fine and five years' jail.