In November 2017, a victim of a China Officials Impersonation Scam lost about S$5.4 million to scammers after she was cheated into believing that she had to surrender all her monies to the authorities to assist in criminal investigations. Police investigations revealed that she delivered her money to different strangers at various locations in Singapore over a one-week period. The suspects left Singapore soon after receiving the money.
On 29 March 2019, with the assistance of the Royal Malaysia Police, the fifth suspect, a 21-year-old Malaysian man was arrested in Kuala Lumpur for his involvement in the scam. The man was brought back to Singapore on 30 March 2019 and will be charged in court on 1 April 2019 with the offence of dishonestly receiving stolen property.
If convicted, the man faces an imprisonment term of up to 5 years, or with fine, or with both. Over the last year, four other Malaysians were arrested for their involvement in the same case with the help of the Royal Malaysia Police. They have already been charged in court for money laundering offences. Two of them, Looi Yu Chong and Cha Kok Haw, were sentenced to imprisonment terms of 4 years and 10 months, and 2 years and 6 months respectively.
The Police advise members of the public to take the following precautions when they receive unsolicited calls to surrender money to avoid criminal investigations:
Ignore such calls and the caller's instructions.
No government agency in Singapore will demand payment over the telephone or other social messaging platforms (e.g. WeChat or Facebook), or demand that you surrender cash to unnamed persons, or ask you for personal banking information such as your internet banking passwords.
For foreign residents receiving calls from persons claiming to be Police officers or government officials from your home country, please call your Embassy/High Commission to verify the claims of the caller.
Refrain from giving out personal information and bank details, whether on a website or to callers over the phone. Personal information and bank details such as internet bank account usernames and passwords, OTP codes from tokens, are useful to criminals. Do not make any funds transfer at the behest of such callers.
Call a trusted friend or talk to a relative before you act. Do not be pressured by the caller to act impulsively.
Call the anti-scam helpline at 1800-722-6688 or visit www.scamalert.sg for scam related advice.
Source: Singapore Police Force