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Scams and swindles

Three Taiwanese men accused of posing as Chinese police in US$1.2m scam in Singapore

Trio held on suspicion of posing as mainland officers to trick victim into handing over large sums of cash

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 October, 2018, 3:57pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 October, 2018, 8:54pm

Three Taiwanese men have been arrested in Singapore on suspicion of impersonating Chinese police officers to cheat a victim out of more than US$1.2 million, local media reported on Saturday.

Local police said the men, aged 24 to 26, were detained on Friday accused of posing as Chinese officials to cheat a 34-year-old earlier this week.

The man said he received a call on Tuesday that appeared to implicate him in a transnational fraud and he was told he had to hand over his money to allow officers to investigate.

He gave over S$920,000 (US$668,000) in cash to a man he thought was an officer from Interpol, the global policing agency, then a further S$800,000 on Wednesday.

If the men are found to be guilty, they could face fines or jail time of up to five years.

According to The Straits Times, it is the largest sum of money handed over to alleged scammers this year.

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Singaporean police have warned that there have been a string of similar cases, with 182 incidents in which scammers posed as Chinese officials from the ministry of public security or Interpol recorded in the first half of this year.

This marked a 200 per cent increase compared with the same period last year with a total of US$4.3 million being lost in the scams.

In September, two other Taiwanese men were jailed for a similar con in which the victim losing the equivalent of US$134,000.

The impersonation of Chinese Interpol officers follows the high-profile disappearance and investigation of Meng Hongwei, the first Chinese head of the agency.

Police have advised members of the public to be alert to calls asking them for their personal or bank information.