Two men, aged 46 and 48, will be charged in court on 11 June 2021 for their suspected involvement in a series of China Officials Impersonation Scams.
Between 18 July 2020 and 29 July 2020, the Commercial Affairs Department received reports from five victims who had fallen prey to the China Officials Impersonation Scam (“COIS”). Phone scammers claiming to be from the “Chinese Police” had accused the victims of being involved in transnational money-laundering crimes. The victims were believed to have been subsequently misled into handing cash totaling S$1,580,000 to various persons in Singapore to prove that their money was not derived from illegal activities.
Investigations revealed that the two men had responded to a job listing on Facebook, promising S$300 for courier work. After being added to a WhatsApp chat group and following the instructions by the group’s organisers, the duo allegedly began collecting money amounting to S$230,000 from three out of the five victims. The collections were then purportedly handed over to unknown persons. Both men allegedly received a total of S$15,700 as commission but have since surrendered the amount during investigations.
The two men will be charged for assisting another to retain benefits from criminal conduct under Section 44 (1) of the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Offences (Confiscation of Benefits) Act. Anyone found guilty of assisting another to retain benefits from criminal conduct under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Offences (Confiscation of Benefits) Act, faces up to ten years' imprisonment, a fine up to S$500,000, or both.
The Police would like to advise members of the public to take the following precautions when they receive unsolicited calls asking to hand over money to others to avoid supposed criminal investigations:
- Ignore such calls and the caller’s instructions.
- No local government agency will demand payment through a phone call or other social messaging platforms, demand that you hand over cash to strangers, or ask you for your personal banking information such as your Internet banking passwords.
- For foreign residents receiving calls from persons claiming to be Police officers or government officials from your home country, please call your Embassy/High Commission to verify the claims of the caller.
- Do not give your personal information and bank details, whether on a website or to callers over the phone. Personal information and bank details such as Internet bank account usernames, passwords or one-time passwords (OTPs), are useful to criminals. Do not make any fund transfers at the request of such callers.
- Call a trusted friend or talk to a relative before you act. Do not be pressured by the caller to act impulsively.
The Police would also like to warn members of the public not to collect money from other individuals on the behalf of strangers, especially those claiming to be officers from law enforcement agencies. Such callers are likely to be scammers, and members of the public who act on their instructions may unwittingly have committed a crime by assisting to launder money from criminal activities.
If you have information related to such scams or if you are in doubt, please call the Police hotline at 1800-255-0000, or submit it online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness. Please dial ‘999’ if you require urgent Police assistance.
For more information on scams, members of the public can visit www.scamalert.sg or call the Anti-Scam Hotline at 1800-722-6688. Join the ‘Spot the Signs. Stop the Crimes.’ campaign at www.scamalert.sg/fight by signing up as an advocate to receive up-to-date messages and share them with your family and friends. Together, we can help stop scams and prevent our loved ones from becoming the next victim.
SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
10 June 2021 @ 7:15 PM