A 34-year-old man, Poh Zhenlong Caine (“Caine”), was convicted and sentenced to 60 months’ imprisonment and a fine of $17,000 on 31 August 2022 for perpetrating a series of e-commerce scams and for participating in illegal online gambling activities.
From October 2018 to June 2020, the Police received numerous reports from victims who were cheated by purportedly different online sellers on Carousell. These sellers advertised tickets for Universal Studios Singapore (“USS”), concerts, sporting events, and other items (collectively “the Products”). After the victims had made payment via bank transfer, PayNow or Paylah, the sellers ceased communications and did not deliver the Products.
Investigations revealed that Caine had posted advertisements on Carousell purporting to sell the Products. In particular, he advertised tickets to USS, concerts and sporting events after noticing that there was a high demand for such tickets on Carousell. By such manner of deception, Caine dishonestly induced 396 victims to deliver $108,693.90 to various bank accounts.
Caine pleaded guilty to:
- Two charges of amalgamated cheating under Section 420 of Penal Code read with Section 124(4) and Section 124(8)(a)(ii) of the Criminal Procedure Code (“CPC”), punishable with imprisonment for a term not exceeding 20 years, and shall also be liable to fine;
- Four charges of amalgamated unlawful remote gambling under Section 8(1) of the Remote Gambling Act read with Section 124(4) and Section 124(8)(a)(ii) of the CPC, punishable with a fine not exceeding $10,000, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or both; and
- One charge of unlawful remote gambling under Section 8(1) of the Remote Gambling Act, punishable with a fine not exceeding $5,000, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months, or both.
The Police takes a serious view of persons who may be involved in scams and fraud, and perpetrators will be dealt with, in accordance with the law. The Police would like to advise members of the public to be very careful when making online purchases:
- Opt for buyer protection by using in-built payment options that release payment to the seller only upon delivery. Whenever possible, avoid making advance payments or direct bank transfers to the seller.
- Scammers may entice buyers to contact them directly through messaging platforms such as WhatsApp or WeChat by offering a better or faster deal if bank transfer payments are made directly to them. They may also use a local bank account or provide a copy of a NRIC/driver’s licence to make you believe that they are genuine sellers. Do not fall for it!
- If the price is too good to be true, it probably is. Purchase only from authorised sellers or reputable sources, especially for high-value items.
We would also like to caution members of the public to exercise due diligence and common sense when responding to online job advertisements claiming that lucrative salary or allowance will be provided in exchange for the use of their personal particulars, contact details and/or bank account(s). Remember that you will be held accountable if these are linked to crimes.
For more information on scams, members of the public can visit www.scamalert.sg or call the Anti-Scam Hotline at 1800-722-6688. Anyone with information on such scams may call the Police Hotline at 1800-255-0000 or submit information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness. All information will be kept strictly confidential.
PUBLIC AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT
SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
31 August 2022 @ 6:54 PM