Repeat offender slapped with preventive detention over Carousell scams
A man behind a series of scams on Carousell will have to spend years in one of the most severe prison regimes.
John Leong Kim Onn, 55, an odd-job worker with a long criminal record, was yesterday sentenced to seven years' preventive detention.
Offenders under preventive detention must serve the full sentence with no reduction for good behaviour.
Leong was convicted on seven charges of cheating, with another 15 similar charges taken into consideration.
The court had earlier heard that he hatched a plan to cheat users on the online marketplace by advertising room rentals and hotel stays under the username 'chingchaitioho'.
In his listings, he claimed he could provide these though he was not in a position to do so.
He scammed 22 people of more than $9,000 from September to December 2017.
He offered his own flat in the Jalan Kukoh area, and hotel stays at Marina Bay Sands, Resorts World Sentosa and Hard Rock Hotel Singapore.
After users made payments of between $150 and $700 by transferring the money to Leong's POSB account, he would become uncontactable.
Several users lodged police reports and Leong was traced via his Carousell username, mobile number and bank account details provided by the victims in their reports.
Leong has since made full restitution to the victims.
Yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Stacey Anne Fernandez asked the judge to impose either 10 years' corrective training or preventive detention for a period left up to the court's discretion.
She said he was found to have a propensity for criminal behaviour, having a string of property-related and cheating offences since the 1980s.
"The accused's attitudes and orientation show that he has an attitude supportive of crime... as a quick way to meet his financial needs," she said.
"He belongs to a group of prisoners with a 30 per cent probability of recidivism within two years of release."
District Judge Salina Ishak said she found good grounds to sentence Leong to preventive detention.
After sentencing, Leong's lawyer Kalidass Murugaiyan said his client intends to appeal and asked the judge for bail to be allowed.
The prosecutor asked for bail to be doubled.
The judge agreed and Leong was released on bail of $40,000 pending his appeal against the sentence.
On each count of cheating, Leong could have been jailed up to three years, fined, or both.