Tradenation luxury goods scam: Couple remanded further as prosecution seeks more time for investigations
Pi Jiapeng and his wife, Thai national Siriwipa Pansuk, will be remanded for another week in a case prosecutors described as "complex".
SINGAPORE: The prosecution on Friday (Aug 19) requested more time to investigate the couple who were allegedly involved in a multimillion-dollar luxury goods scam.
Singaporean Pi Jiapeng, 26, and his wife, 27-year-old Thai national Siriwipa Pansuk, are accused of deceiving Tradenation customers into paying for luxury watches they did not intend to deliver.
They are also accused of cheating customers of their other luxury goods firm Tradeluxury into buying luxury handbags.
Describing the case as "complex", the prosecution requested that the couple be remanded at the Central Police Division for an additional week for investigations.
The case involves losses of more than S$20 million and more time is needed to determine the whereabouts of the funds, the prosecution said.
Pi's lawyer Bhargavan Sujatha and Pansuk's lawyer Johannes Hadi, who both appeared to represent their clients for the first time, did not object to them being further remanded.
The alleged offences took place between May 28, 2021 and Jun 27 this year, according to court documents.
Pi and Pansuk had been on the run for about five weeks when they were arrested in Malaysia and handed over to Singapore police on Aug 11.
When they appeared before the court the next day, Deputy Public Prosecutor David Koh described their two cheating charges as "holding charges", adding that investigations were still at an early stage.
This is because the couple absconded, and because time was needed to investigate the more than 180 police reports made, he said.
LEAVING SINGAPORE ILLEGALLY
Pi and Pansuk were also charged last week with illegally leaving Singapore via Tuas Checkpoint on Jul 4.
The couple had fled Singapore by hiding in the container compartment of a Malaysia-registered lorry. This was about a month after Pi was arrested in June on suspicion of cheating.
His passport was impounded and he was released on bail. Pansuk had also surrendered her passport to the police and was assisting with investigations.
Two men charged with helping the couple flee Singapore - Malaysians Mohamad Fazli Abdul Rahman, 38, and Mohamed Alias, 40 - have said that they intend to plead guilty.
After Pi and Pansuk fled, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) issued a warrant of arrest for them and both were also listed on Interpol's red notice website.
On Aug 10, SPF received information from the Royal Thai Police that the pair may be staying in a hotel in Johor Bahru, and sought assistance from the Royal Malaysia Police to locate them.
Pi and Pansuk were arrested and handed over to SPF at Woodlands Checkpoint on the evening of Aug 11.
The punishment for cheating is a jail term of up to 10 years and a fine.
The penalty for leaving Singapore without presenting a passport is up to six months' jail and a fine of up to S$1,000.