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Man cheats S$28,000 from strangers at MRT stations for 4 years, jailed 1 year

The Independent logo The Independent 26/9/2022 Hana O
© The Independent Singapore

Byron Yeaw Li Xun cheated strangers of about S$28,000 as he asked them to lend him money in front of MRT stations.

He asked the victims, many of whom were students, for help in paying his purported transport and living expenses.

Yeaw, now 26 years old, duped 78 individuals over almost four years, reported Today, convincing them that he was rushing to get to a destination.

On one occasion, a full-time national serviceman (NSF) with only S$2,100 in his bank account lent Yeaw S$2,000.

They were at Yee Tee MRT station in February this year when Yeaw claimed he only had 50 cents left.

Yeaw added that his salary was delayed, and needed the cash to make it through the month.

The NSF became suspicious when Yeaw asked for the remaining S$100 as well.

Reports noted that Yeaw began his stint in 2019 while working for Singtel. He tried borrowing money from strangers for personal financial matters.

Yeaw would wait at MRT stations and tell passersby that he needed to travel somewhere far but didn’t have the money for the taxi or private-hire vehicle fare.

To convince the victims, he would show his identification documents to them.

However, when the individuals would offer to book the ride for him, he would refuse, saying he needed to book it himself as he would reimburse the sum from his employer.

After succeeding, he would spend the borrowed money on personal expenses.

Whenever the victims filed a police report or threatened him to do so, Yeaw would return the money.

He was eventually arrested and charged in court in March 2020.

Yeaw returned to asking strangers for larger amounts of money for his gambling habits and was re-arrested a year later.

Following his release on court bail on Aug 30, 2021, Yeaw continued this practice until March 2022, when he was remanded.

Yeaw was jailed for one year on Friday (Sept 23) after pleading guilty to five counts of cheating. Another 18 charges were considered during sentencing.

He has since made full restitution to all of the victims.

The prosecution noted that he had “clearly developed a well-honed modus operandi,” targeting younger girls and students and asked for 12 to 18 months imprisonment.

Yeaw could have been sentenced to up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine for each cheating offence./TISG

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