Retirees face 28 more cheating charges

A couple, charged earlier this month with abetment of cheating a man of $38,800, were accused yesterday of 28 more cheating offences.

Ong Choon Lin, a 66-year-old Singaporean, and his Malaysian wife, Ng Kim Yew, 60, are now said to have duped six victims into giving them $657,068.

The retirees allegedly conspired with each other to deceive the victims into believing that a spiritual master from Thailand or Tibet would personally write a talisman dedicated to the victim.

They allegedly thus induced the victims dishonestly to hand over various sums of money, ranging from $688 to $38,800 each time.

The victim who gave the most - $308,688 - was allegedly cheated from 2004 to March last year.

Two others were allegedly cheated of $100,580 and $137,800 while the smallest sum was $11,000.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tay Jingxi suggested bail of $500,000 but the couple's lawyer Anil Balchandani said the amount was excessive and proposed $25,000 instead.

He added that Ng was unwell and had been hospitalised twice.

District Judge Eddy Tham fixed bail at $300,000 each. The couple's passports have been impounded.

A pre-trial conference is scheduled for April 28.

The maximum penalty is 10 years in jail and a fine for each charge.

Elena Chong

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 16, 2016, with the headline Retirees face 28 more cheating charges. Subscribe