SINGAPORE: Two men will be charged in court on Friday (Jun 11) for their suspected involvement in a series of China officials impersonation scams.
The men, aged 46 and 48, are accused of collecting money from victims of the scam and are believed to have received commission for their involvement, said the Singapore Police Force (SPF) on Thursday.
The police said they received reports from five victims between Jul 18 and 29 last year.
“Phone scammers claiming to be from the ‘Chinese Police’ had accused the victims of being involved in transnational money-laundering crimes," said SPF.
“The victims were believed to have been subsequently misled into handing cash totalling S$1,580,000 to various persons in Singapore to prove that their money was not derived from illegal activities.”
Police investigations revealed that the two men became involved in the scam after responding to a job listing on Facebook which promised S$300 for courier work.
“After being added to a WhatsApp chat group and following the instructions by the group’s organisers, the duo allegedly began collecting money amounting to S$230,000 from three out of the five victims,” SPF said.
“The collections were then purportedly handed over to unknown persons."
Both men allegedly received a total of S$15,700 as commission but they have since surrendered the amount during investigations, said the police.
They will be charged for assisting another to retain benefits from criminal conduct under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Offences (Confiscation of Benefits) Act.
If convicted, they face up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to S$500,000, or both.
The police advised members of the public to ignore unsolicited calls asking for money to be handed over in relation to supposed criminal investigations. They also warned against giving out personal information and bank details.
“No local government agency will demand payment through a phone call or other social messaging platforms, demand that you hand over cash to strangers or ask you for your personal banking information such as your Internet banking passwords,” SPF said.
“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.”
The police also warned members of the public not to collect money from other individuals on behalf of strangers, especially if they claim to be law enforcement officers.