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2 men jailed for helping couple behind alleged luxury goods scam flee Singapore

Yahoo News logo Yahoo News 29/9/2022 Staff Writer

SINGAPORE - Two Malaysian men were jailed a year each on Thursday (29 September) for helping a couple behind an alleged multi-million luxury goods scam escape from Singapore.

Mohamed Alias, 40, and Mohamad Fazli Abdul Rahman, 38 had helped Singaporean Pi Jiapeng and his Thai wife Pansuk Siriwipa to escape from Tuas Checkpoint while the couple were under investigation, according to a report by The Straits Times. The two men pleaded guilty to offences under the Immigration Act, the report added.

Mohamed Alias assisted the couple on the night of 4 July by letting them hide in a container compartment of a lorry while Fazli arranged the escape.

Last month, Pi and Pansuk were each handed three charges in court for their alleged role in the scam and for illegally departing from Singapore.

The couple were arrested in Johor Bahru and handed over to Singapore police, after being on the run for over five weeks.

Two of the charges that they face are for conspiracy to cheat, while the third charge is for illegally leaving Singapore via Tuas Checkpoint on 4 July.

Pi, 26, and Pansuk, 27, are accused of cheating customers of Tradenation – one of two companies they are associated with – by deceiving them into paying for luxury watches that they did not intend to deliver between 28 May 2021 and 27 June this year.

They are also accused of cheating customers of another company, Tradeluxury, between 15 January and 27 June by deceiving them into paying for luxury handbags that they did not intend to deliver.

The amount arising from the scam totalled about $32 million, according to media reports.

Pi was first arrested by the Singapore police on 27 June, and released on bail the next day with his passport impounded. Pansuk, who was helping the police with their investigation, surrendered her passport to the police on 30 June.

The couple later became uncontactable and fled Singapore via the lorry. Interpol red notices issued against the couple were published online on 21 July.

At least 180 reports have been lodged with Singapore police since June against Tradenation and Tradeluxury in relation to the alleged scam. Investigations into the couple's case are ongoing.

The punishment for cheating is jail for 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 $1,000.

A pre-trial conference for the couple’s case has been scheduled for 11 October.

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