SINGAPORE: Two Taiwanese men were sentenced to jail on Tuesday (Sep 4) for their roles in police impersonation scams in which victims were tricked into handing over S$185,000.
Hsieh Teng-Chia, 31, and Chen You-Jeng, 34, had helped to collect and transfer the money.
The victims, who included retirees and housewives, were tricked into providing login credentials to their Singapore bank accounts, after believing that their accounts were implicated in money laundering cases.
The two Taiwanese men met over drinks in Taiwan early last year, where You-Jeng recruited Hsieh to act as a middle-man in Singapore. He was to collect and hand over the money to another person.
Hsieh was promised NTD75,000 (S$3,300) for a month's work, while You-Jeng had been offered NTD59,500 (S$2,650) for recruiting Hsieh.
The pair arrived in Singapore in July 2017 and met up with another accomplice, 35-year-old Chen Peng-Yu, who was to give them instructions over messaging app Telegram.
Hsieh collected money left by victims at various locations, transferring a total of S$185,000. Of this amount, You-Jeng delivered S$90,000 to another person as directed by Chen.
MONEY WAS NOT RECOVERED
The victims had received phone calls in June and July last year from people claiming to be police officers.
These scammers convinced the victims that they were involved in money laundering cases or other serious offences, saying that their bank accounts or cards were implicated in the crimes.
Believing that they would face prosecution, some of the victims gave their bank account details while others were pressured into withdrawing money from other victims and transferring the money to the syndicate members.
The money has not been recovered, and both accused men pleaded guilty last month.
District Judge Salina Ishak sentenced Hsieh to jail for two years and nine months, while You-Jeng received three years' jail.
She said there was a need for general deterrence because of the rise in police impersonation scams.
Chen will be in court next month for sentencing, while a fourth member of the syndicate, 53-year-old Huang Ying-Chun, will be appealing against his sentence of six-and-a-half years' jail in the High Court next month.