Two Taiwanese men hauled to court over alleged involvement in impersonation scam

Lin Meng-jie (left) and Kuan Cheng-yu are accused of one count each of being involved in a conspiracy to dishonestly receive stolen property. PHOTOS: LIANHE WANBAO

SINGAPORE - Two Taiwanese men were charged in court on Saturday (Jan 27) over their alleged involvement in an impersonation scam.

Lin Meng-jie, 22 and Kuan Cheng-yu, 27 are accused of one count each of being involved in a conspiracy to dishonestly receive stolen property.

Court documents show the men received $32,000 at Hotel 81 Gold in Lorong 20 Geylang on Thursday, which they had reason to believe was stolen property.

A 32-year-old woman had lodged a report that same day after being cheated in a phone scam, police said in a statement.

She said she had received a phone call from a man claiming to be from Interpol.

He accused her of money laundering offences and instructed her to empty her bank account, and deliver the cash to a man near Buffalo Road in Little India.

She did as she was told and handed him $32,000.

But the Malaysian woman alerted the police after she became suspicious when the caller phoned her again to ask for more money.

Officers conducted extensive follow-up investigations and arrested the two Taiwanese men on Friday.

Police said: "Preliminary investigations revealed that they allegedly received criminal proceeds that are linked to the scam. They are also believed to be involved in several other similar cases."

Police advise the public to ignore unsolicited calls for money, stressing that no government agency will demand payment through undocumented mediums such as phone calls and social messaging platforms.

They added: "Refrain from giving out personal information and bank details, whether on a website or to callers over the phone. For foreigner residents receiving calls from persons claiming to be police officers or government officials from your home country, please call your embassy or high commission to verify the claims of the caller."

Lin and Kuan are not the first Taiwanese to be charged in Singapore over such scams.

Wang Wei-ciang, 23, and Wang Wei-Ming, 25, were charged with receiving stolen property on Aug 10 last year. Their case is still pending.

That same month, Kuo Chih-chen, 32, admitted to three counts of dealing with benefits of criminal conduct while Ciou Wei-min, 22, pleaded guilty to one count of a similar charge.

Four other Taiwanese men were also charged in court in July last year for their alleged involvement in police impersonation scams. Their alleged victims lost more than $800,000.

Lin and Kuan, who are unrepresented, will be remanded at the Central Police Division. They will be back in court on Feb 1.

Offenders convicted of dishonestly receiving stolen property can be jailed for up to five years and fined.

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