SINGAPORE: Three men have been arrested for helping a foreign scam syndicate carry out credit-for-sex scams in Singapore, police said on Monday (Jul 10).
The Singapore Police Force (SPF) said it received at least 269 reports of such scams in the first five months of the year. Victims in these cases lost more than S$762,000 in total.
In these scams, fraudsters would pose as attractive women to befriend victims through social media platforms such as WeChat.
They would then ask their victims to buy online shopping credits or gift cards at AXS machines or convenience stores in exchange for a meet-up, a date or the promise of sexual services.
After the victims had done so, the fraudsters would then ask them to send images of the receipts showing the codes of the credits or cards to designated email accounts for them to claim, SPF said.
Some victims were reportedly told to transfer cash to local bank accounts as deposits instead of buying gift cards or online credits.
In some cases, other members of the scam syndicate would also contact the victims to ask for more payments.
"The victims end up making multiple payments ... without meeting the women they have befriended online," SPF said. "It is only at this point that the victims realise they have been scammed."
The three men, aged between 24 and 34, were arrested for helping the scam syndicate collect cash desposits from the victims in Singapore and then using this cash to buy Alipay credits and iTunes gift cards, which they then transferred to the syndicate online.
Police said the three men had laundered at least S$88,000 in criminal proceeds.
They will be charged in court on Tuesday for intentionally assisting a foreign scam syndicate to transfer its benefits from criminal conduct.
Anyone found guilty of such money laundering offences may be sentenced to up to 10 years in jail, or a fine of up to S$500,000, or both.