$32m scam couple's arrest: Police in region work well with each other, says Shanmugam
The ties between police forces around the region are good and they work well with each other when assistance is required.
Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam said this in a Facebook post where he spoke about the case of the couple allegedly involved in a luxury goods scam involving undelivered items worth $32 million.
Pi Jiapeng, 26, and Thai national Pansuk Siriwipa, 27, who are suspects in a series of alleged cheating cases, had fled Singapore on July 4, but were arrested in Malaysia and returned here on Aug 11.
In a Facebook post on Monday (Aug 15), Mr Shanmugam said that the matter would now be dealt with by the courts.
"I've often said before: one, if you've committed an offence, you are likely to be caught; two, when you are arrested, if you are guilty, then the facts are likely to be found and presented, and you are likely to be found guilty; and three, you are then likely to serve the sentence," he said.
"Our police have very good linkages with regional police forces. They use their leads, and work closely with their regional counterparts."
Pi and Pansuk met on a dating application in 2019 and tied the knot in 2020.
They started Tradenation and Tradeluxury in April 2021, dealing in luxury watches and bags by taking advanced payments for the items.
Trouble began to surface in June this year as customers started noticing significant delays in getting their goods.
They confronted the couple and made more than 180 police reports against them.
Pi was arrested on June 27 and his passport impounded before he was released on bail the next day.
Pansuk was not arrested, but was assisting in police investigations and had surrendered her passport on June 30.
On July 4, the couple fled Singapore illegally by hiding in the container compartment of a Malaysian-registered lorry.
A 40-year-old Malaysian lorry driver who allegedly snuck them across the border via Tuas Checkpoint and a 38-year-old Malaysian who allegedly conspired with the driver have also been charged.
Following their escape, the police said on July 19 that warrants of arrest and Interpol red notices had been issued against the couple.
On Aug 10, the Royal Thai Police tipped off the Singapore Police Force (SPF) with information that the couple may be staying in a hotel in Johor Bahru.
The SPF then sought the assistance of the Royal Malaysia Police, which then nabbed the couple as they were checking in to a budget hotel in Skudai, Johor. They returned to Singapore on Aug 11.
The couple were charged on Aug 12, and each face two cheating charges and another charge of leaving Singapore illegally.
Pi had said in court that they were wrong to leave Singapore illegally, and claimed they were under a lot of pressure and had death threats directed at them.
The court ordered for the duo to be remanded for a week.
Their cases are expected to be heard again on Aug 19.
Pi and Pansuk each face up to 10 years' jail and a fine for each count of cheating.
For fleeing the country illegally, they may be jailed for up to six months and fined.