31 people charged over suspected scams, money mule offences, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

31 people charged over suspected scams, money mule offences

Thirty-one people were hauled to court on March 22 over their suspected involvement in perpetrating various scams and money mule activities.

This group included eight teenagers, the youngest of whom is 17 years old. The oldest among those charged is 67 years old.

The police said on March 21 that they were allegedly involved in scams such as government official impersonation scams, Internet love scams, malware phishing scams, rental scams and China official impersonation scams.

Those charged in court on March 22 were: Mohamad Hendra Aizal Abdullah, 20; Hafidzulhasan Ishak, 21; Irfansyah Masri, 21; Tok Jia Hwee, 21; Waldan Nabil Abdul Wahid, 22; Yip Yi Hong, 22; Heng Keng Siang, 23; Noor Hidayat Ismail, 23; Keshan Selvam, 24; Elijah Lim Yi Zhe, 25; Muhammad Khairun Mansor, 26; Mohammed Muhaimin Mazli, 27; Clement Yip Kong Fai, 29; Khoo Xin Yi, 29; Maslina Mohd Yusof, 29; Nurhidayah Abdullah, 30; Pai Yong Xiang, 31; Karthik Pillay Pasupathi, 37; Tai Suk Fei, 46; Chua Kheng Seng, 57; Noraini Mohd Tahir, 66; and Chan Mee Lee, 67.

The others who were charged cannot be named as they were below 18 years old when they allegedly committed the offences, or because of a gag order.

The police said preliminary investigations revealed that 19 people allegedly sold or rented their bank accounts to criminal syndicates, or assisted by carrying out bank transfers and withdrawals.

Three others are believed to have cheated banks into opening bank accounts before handing over the ATM cards and Internet banking credentials to the criminal syndicates.

Another nine people allegedly sold their Singpass credentials to syndicates to create new bank accounts.

To avoid being an accomplice in such crimes, members of the public should always reject seemingly attractive money-making opportunities in exchange for the use of their Singpass accounts or bank accounts, and should not allow their personal bank accounts to be used to receive and transfer money for others, warned the police.

In May 2023, tougher laws aimed at clamping down on money mules and those who sell their bank or Singpass accounts were passed.

These laws empower the police to act against money mules who hand over control of their payment accounts to criminals, or who use their payment accounts to receive or transfer money for criminals.

The new laws have made it an offence for anyone to disclose his Singpass credentials while knowing or suspecting that these will be used to commit an offence. The user will be presumed to have known, or had reason to know, if he received any gain for doing so.

This means money mules can no longer claim they did not know they were selling their bank or Singpass accounts to scammers.