ANN/THE STRAITS TIMES – Two men fell victim to scammers impersonating government officials in China who duped them into revealing personal information, their family background and caused one of them to lose about SGD63,000.
The police said yesterday the victims, aged 22 and 19, had complied with reporting to fake China police via chat applications and also divulged their banking details.
The police were alerted to the cases when they received separate reports from the victims’ parents on April 28 and April 29 claiming their sons had been held captive.
The parents, who are based in China, had received calls from unknown men who threatened to hurt their sons if they did not pay gambling debts the victims were alleged to have incurred.
Less than three hours after both reports, officers conducted extensive follow-up investigations and tracked down the victims.
Separately, the scammer alleged that the authorities had detected a parcel with prohibited items in Singapore registered under the victims’ name. The victims were told their identities could have been misused and asked to cooperate in investigations allegedly conducted by the China police.
The men complied out of fear after they were shown false Chinese documents alleging they had been involved in crimes, said the police, adding that the victims maintained contact with the scammers over chat applications.
The victim in the first case, which began in March, was asked to post bail of SGD15,000 or face his arrest and extradition to China for criminal charges.
He was warned not to leak any information about the investigation to third parties, including his parents.
The man then lied to his mother that he needed SGD15,000 for his school fees, which he paid to the scammers by transferring to a bank account on April 10.
He was then instructed to delete chat logs with the scammers, including the bank beneficiary’s details.
Two weeks later, he was told he needed to cough up CNY250,000 (SGD48,000) to prove his innocence. He lied to his mother again and transferred the sum to two China bank accounts to avoid delaying the investigation.
The scammers contacted the victim on April 27, this time asking him to write a promissory note agreeing to an online gambling debt of CNY2.58 million.
He was asked to send a selfie with the note and his China identity card to them.
The next day, the scammer sent threats to his mother using his photo without his knowledge. She then contacted the Singapore police when she could not get in touch with her son.
In the second case, which began in April, the victim was similarly asked to post bail of CNY1 million to avoid being arrested and extradited to China for criminal charges.
When he claimed he did not have the money, the scammers asked to speak to his parent for the cash.