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Former Miss Universe contestant admits memorising friends' card numbers for unauthorised online shopping

Former Miss Universe contestant admits memorising friends' card numbers for unauthorised online shopping

Ashley Rita Wong, an influencer and former Miss Universe Singapore contestant. (Photo: Instagram/ashleyritawong)

SINGAPORE: A Miss Universe Singapore 2017 contestant pleaded guilty on Wednesday (Dec 23) to using her friends' debit card details to make unauthorised purchases after memorising them.

Ashley Rita Wong Kai Lin, 27, admitted to four charges under the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act, with another 27 charges taken into consideration for sentencing. 

The offences took place in 2016. The first victim was a 28-year-old man, who befriended her through a mutual friend.

As Wong was down after a break-up with her boyfriend, she went out socially with the first victim, the court heard.

During an outing, the victim left his wallet on the table to go to the toilet. Wong took his debit card from the wallet, memorised its details and placed it back.

At the time, the victim did not know what Wong had done, but later realised that there were unauthorised transactions on his card.

He confronted Wong, who admitted to using his card details to make online purchases without his knowledge. She did so on more than 20 occasions between August and September 2016, buying items like tickets worth more than S$300, a Lazada purchase worth S$320 and a purchase of almost S$200 from an online fashion store.

Wong made full restitution for two of the transactions, and the victim managed to dispute the third purchase with the bank.

The second victim was a 26-year-old woman who was also a friend of Wong's. She first realised that there were two charges on her card she had not made when she tried to make online payments but could not due to insufficient funds.

She realised that she had been charged about S$264 for accommodation at Hotel Clover. Later, she found out that Wong had used credit or debit card details belonging to other people and confronted Wong about it.

Wong admitted memorising her card details when the card was unattended. The victim disputed the impugned transaction with her bank and was refunded, with the bank recovering losses from the hotel. Wong has since made restitution to the hotel.

The prosecutor asked for two months' jail for Wong, who has no prior convictions. He noted that there were three victims across all 31 charges, and more than S$2,000 involved in total.

He recognised that Wong has pleaded guilty and made restitution. He said there was no inordinate delay as mentioned by Wong in a previous hearing, saying the delays were due to the COVID-19 situation and other factors.

Wong, who had to plead guilty in the afternoon after omitting to take her mitigation plea with her in the morning, did not add much verbally to her written plea.

She said a psychiatric report she had submitted was "the best possible way to prove that back then in 2016, I was really behaving out of character and it was not something I would normally do at all".

She did not mention in open court what conditions she had, answering the judge's questions to say only that she has been going to a psychiatrist to make sure she is "alright mentally".

She said she is not on medication and last saw the psychiatrist in November.

Wong took part in Miss Universe Singapore 2017 and later became an e-gaming commentator.  

The judge asked Wong to attend at the Institute of Mental Health for a report to assess her suitability for a mandatory treatment order.

She will return to court in February for a further mention of her case.

Source: CNA/ll(hs)

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