Asia

Jail for man who went on the run for 9 years after cheating others of $6,000 in total

SINGAPORE – A man went on the run for nine years after cheating three people of more than $6,000 in total.

Former sales executive Wong Chee Kuan is believed to have fled to Thailand before he finally surrendered himself to the Singapore authorities earlier this year.

Court documents did not reveal why he decided to return here.

The 46-year-old Singaporean was sentenced on Tuesday (Aug 25) to seven months’ jail after pleading guilty to three counts of cheating.

Wong used to work at a company known as Auto Assist Global, which was then located in Upper Thomson Road.

It sold annual memberships for Admiralty Resort & Country Cluband also offered a programme which provided unlimited car wash services.

On Jan 29, 1996, a man identified as Mohamed Foad Buang contacted the firm and Wong told him about its services.

Mr Foad then agreed to pay for the car cash programme and country club membership.

Wong arranged to meet Mr Foad at Hock Hin Engineering in Bukit Merah Lane the next day.

Wong turned up at 10.30am on Jan 30, 1996, and ordered a CD player and four cassette players worth nearly $1,400 in total.

He then told a sales assistant that a friend would be paying for them, the court heard.

Mr Foad arrived about two hours later. He passed his credit card to Wong who used it to pay for his goods instead.

Mr Foad found out he had been cheated only when Wong’s colleague later contacted him to ask for his payment for the car cash programme and the country club membership.

In another incident, Wong cheated another man, identified as Mr Mohd Hashim Abu Othman.

Mr Hashim went to Auto Assist Global on Feb 22, 1996, to sign up for the car wash programme and Wong attended to him. The court heard that $288 was later charged to Mr Hashim’s credit card for the service.

On March 1 that year, Wong went to Mr Hashim’s home and told him that credit card payments would “take a long time” to be processed.

Wong then lied to Mr Hashim, claiming that he had paid $288 in cash to the firm on his victim’s behalf. Wong also said that the company would void the earlier credit card payment.

Mr Hashim believed him and handed over a cheque for the amount, only to find out later that he had been duped after receiving his bank statement.

Wong has made full restitution to Mr Foad and Mr Hashim.

Separately in November 2000, Wong duped a woman, Madam Jessie Wee, into handing him $5,000 in cash after claiming that he needed the money to pay for his father’s hospitalisation bill.

Madam Wee, who agreed to loan him the amount, later received from Wong a cheque for $5,000 and banked it in.

Later that month, she received a bank advice, stating that the cheque could not be honoured as the account linked to it had been closed. Wong has since made a partial restitution of $3,500 to her.

For each count of cheating, he could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined.

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