SINGAPORE: A 19-year-old man was charged in court on Friday (Sep 7) with cheating multiple victims out of more than S$3,000 by posing as a woman and offering sexual services.
Lee Chao Hunt was arrested in January earlier this year, a few months after a victim made a police report.
The victim said Lee had asked him to make an advance payment into a bank account, in exchange for sexual services thereafter. However, Lee could not be contacted after the victim made the payment.
Lee, who faces 17 charges, allegedly cheated 16 victims in total between June and November last year, asking them to transfer sums of between S$150 and S$200 to him.
One of the victims fell prey to his credit-for-sex scam twice. This victim first transferred S$200 to Lee's POSB account on Aug 26 last year. Two days later, he transferred another S$150 upon Lee's deception.
Lee will be back in court next month.
If found guilty of cheating, he could be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.
The number of credit-for-sex scams had decreased in the first half of 2018, according to mid-year crime statistics released by the police last month.
There were 207 cases in that period, down from 253 in the same period last year, while the total amount cheated fell to about S$450,000, from about S$720,000.
The police credited the improvement to "the good partnership with convenience stores such as 7-11 and Cheers which provide training to enable their staff to identify victims who may be victims of a scam".
Internet love scam cases were fewer for the first time in five years - registering an 18.6 per cent drop from 344 to 280 cases in the first half of 2018.