Woman got beau to extort cash from ex-lover

Relationships can get complicated but a woman wove an especially messy web of deceit which ensnared the two married men she had relationships with.

Although the 27-year-old woman was financially supported by her first lover even after their relationship soured, she wanted more money from him.

So she roped in Muhammad Zainal Abdul Zailani, 32, to pretend to be a loan shark to extort money from her former lover.

They successfully duped the 38-year-old man into transferring $8,500 to the woman's bank account but when they tried to pull a similar stunt a second time, they were arrested.

Zainal was yesterday sentenced to two years' jail and three strokes of the cane for extortion. The former private hire car driver had a second charge considered during sentencing.

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The victim and the woman cannot be named due to a gag order but she was charged in court and her case is pending.

The court heard that the woman first met the victim in November 2014 and they became romantically involved the following month. He then gave the woman up to $1,500 every month as an allowance, Deputy Public Prosecutor Suhas Malhotra said.

Their relationship soured by December 2016 but the woman remained in contact with him.

Court documents did not reveal how she met Zainal, but in a twist, she found herself giving him money because of his financial woes then. After they started a romantic relationship, she hatched a plan to obtain more money from her former lover.

DPP Malhotra said: "She suggested to Zainal that he should pretend to be an 'ah long' (an unlicensed moneylender).

"She said he should call the victim and tell him that (she) was in the custody of an 'ah long', and demand that the victim pay money to have her released."

Zainal did as he was told at around 7.30pm on May 2, 2017, and made threats to intentionally put the victim in fear of bodily harm to his family.

The victim transferred $8,500 to the woman's bank account and she gave about $500 of that to Zainal before spending the rest.

Later that month, the couple conspired again to contact the victim to demand $10,000. But he had enough and alerted the police on May 21, 2017.

As part of a police operation, he arranged to meet the pair in Jurong later that same day. Plainclothes officers arrested her when she arrived at the scene, and Zainal, a short while later.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 29, 2019, with the headline 'Woman got beau to extort cash from ex-lover'. Print Edition | Subscribe