SINGAPORE: A man pleaded guilty on Thursday (Mar 21) to cheating his friend of S$48,000 by posing as a woman, as well as to a separate charge of fighting with a driver.
Chia Han Lin, a 26-year-old limousine driver, had tricked his friend Mr Lim into giving him the money in four batches in a single month by posing as a woman.
Chia and Mr Lim had met in school and were friends, going on holiday together several times, the court heard.
As Chia needed money, he cooked up a scheme to cheat his friend. In August 2016, Chia lied to Mr Lim that he had a secretary named Cindy, who was single and wanted to find a boyfriend.
He gave Mr Lim "Cindy's" number, and the pair began communicating. However, "Cindy" did not exist - Chia had given his friend a number that he owned, and posed as "Cindy".
Mr Lim and "Cindy" got into a fictitious relationship, and a few months later in November 2016, "Cindy" told Mr Lim that she had bought a condominium in Pasir Ris for the both of them.
She told Mr Lim that she did not have enough money and asked Mr Lim to transfer money to a bank account to pay for it. Mr Lim accordingly transferred sums of between S$7,000 and S$12,700 in four batches between Nov 1 and Nov 30 that year.
He gave "Cindy", who was really his friend Chia, S$48,100 this way.
Mr Lim made a report at a police station in August 2017, saying he suspected that Chia and Cindy were the same person.
Chia has returned Mr Lim only S$11,000.
HE FOUGHT WITH DRIVER OVER NOT GIVING WAY
Almost two years after taking the money from his friend, Chia committed an unrelated offence of affray.
He had been driving his black Mercedes E-class down a road on Oct 6, 2018, when he saw a white Jaguar coming towards him.
"There was insufficient space on the road for both vehicles to pass at the same time," said Deputy Public Prosecutor Stephanie Chew.
The name of the road was redacted from court documents.
Both Chia and the Jaguar driver, Ow Yong Churn Yue, refused to give way to each other. They stopped for a few minutes before a driver in the vehicle behind Chia's began to sound his horn.
Eventually, Chia reversed his Mercedes to let the Jaguar pass. However, Ow Yong stopped his Jaguar next to Chia's car and they began quarrelling.
Ow Yong challenged Chia to a fight, then both men alighted from their vehicles and began punching each other, eventually dropping to the ground.
Chia suffered a swollen hand and Ow Yong had a deformity in his swollen wrist.
Chia will be back in court for sentencing on Apr 11.