Student ends up doing time for swopping $30k Rolex watch with $500 fake

Jim Bradley Misso Wen Ping and a friend hatched an elaborate plan to trick a property agent, who tried to sell a Rolex watch online to help him buy a home with his fiancee. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - A student used sleight of hand to swop a $30,000 Rolex watch with a $500 fake - but ended up doing time.

On Wednesday (Aug 8), Misso was sentenced to 14 weeks' jail after he pleaded guilty to one count of criminal breach of trust and one count of voluntarily causing hurt.

A court heard how 21-year-old Jim Bradley Misso Wen Ping and a friend hatched an elaborate plan to trick property agent Thomas Tong Guo Xian, who tried to sell the timepiece online to help him buy a home with his fiancee.

Mr Tong, 29, had the watch valued at $29,500 before he put it up for sale on Carousell, where his advert was spotted by Misso's friend Joshua Chua Yong Cheng on Nov 30 last year.

Chua, 24, went to view the watch at Mr Tong's home on Jan 13 but could not afford it, so he and Misso came up with a plan to steal it.

Chua bought a fake replica of the watch on Carousell for about $500 and gave it to Misso.

Misso fixed an appointment with Mr Tong to view his Rolex on Jan 22, at the void deck of Block 3D Upper Boon Keng Road.

That day, Chua also contacted Mr Tong and asked to meet him for dinner under the guise of discussing buying the Rolex. Mr Tong agreed, and arranged for his fiancee Nicole Chan Hui Shan, 30, to meet Misso instead of him.

The couple were not aware that Chua and Misso knew each other, the court heard.

At about 5.30pm, Ms Chan met Misso at the void deck and handed the watch to him so he could inspect it.

As he pretended to check the illumination of the genuine watch under the table, he shielded it from Ms Chan's view and swopped it with the fake which he gave to Ms Chan, before leaving with the real one.

Misso later handed the Rolex to Chua who put it in a paper bag and gave it to a friend Alissa Tay Su Ying, 24, for safekeeping.

When Mr Tong returned home from dinner with Chua that same day, he checked his watch and noticed a discrepancy in the colour and serial number, then realised that it had been swopped with a fake replica. He lodged a police report.

Misso and Chua were arrested at Tuas Checkpoint on Jan 30. The Rolex watch was subsequently recovered from Tay's home. Chua has yet to be dealt with by the court.

On Wednesday, Misso was also found guilty of voluntarily causing hurt in a separate incident on Aug 19 last year.

Misso, who is pursuing a degree at Kaplan, punched 19-year-old Kingston Tan Jing Rong outside Zouk nightclub in Clarke Quay after a row, causing injuries including permanent facial scarring.

In sentencing, District Judge Eddy Tham said that while Misso was "not the mastermind" of the watch scam, he "played a critical role".

He also noted that Misso "had no qualms" about helping his friend commit the offence.

For criminal breach of trust, Misso could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined. For voluntarily causing hurt, he could have been jailed up to two years and fined $5,000.

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