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Singapore

Teen gets probation for running online sex scams, lying to police

Teen gets probation for running online sex scams, lying to police

File photo of the State Courts in Singapore. (Photo: Calvin Oh)

SINGAPORE: An 18-year-old teenager was on Wednesday (May 18) given one-and-a-half years' probation for offences including running online sex scams and lying to the police.

The teen cannot be named as he was under 18 at the time of the offences and therefore protected under the Children and Young Persons Act.

The names of other individuals involved were also redacted from court documents as they could lead to his identification.

The teen pleaded guilty to five charges of cheating, acquiring benefits of criminal conduct, giving false information to a public servant and voluntarily causing hurt.

Another nine charges were considered for sentencing.

The court heard that the teen and a 20-year-old man masqueraded as women to run sex scams on Locanto, an online classifieds website.

They posted advertisements for sexual services using photos of women they had downloaded, and communicated with victims on Telegram.

The duo asked victims to transfer payments to local bank accounts, and would block the victims on Telegram after receiving the money.

One victim fell prey to the scams after coming across an advertisement for sexual services on Locanto on Apr 5, 2020.

He transferred S$100 to a bank account provided by the offender, after which the offender blocked him and became uncontactable.

The next day, the victim reported to police that he had been cheated.

The teen also recruited other people to provide their bank accounts to receive illicit proceeds from the sex scams, in order to evade detection from the police.

They would withdraw the proceeds from their accounts and hand them to the offender in cash. He acquired more than S$12,000 in criminal proceeds from two such people.

When questioned by police on Feb 26, 2020, the offender lied that he would "randomly" receive messages from another person asking him to withdraw and hand over sums of money.

The teen also instigated his friend, who was helping to receive criminal proceeds in his bank account, to lie to police that he was recruited by the same person.

This caused police to start investigating the person and take his statement "to his annoyance, as he was not involved in the accused's illicit activities", stated court documents.

On May 19, 2020, the teen admitted to lying to police about this person's involvement in his criminal activities.

The teen also admitted to punching another person who got into an argument with his friend while playing an arcade game in March 2020.

Source: CNA/dv(zl)

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