SINGAPORE, Feb 22 — Soon after he was retrenched as a chef, a man in his 20s was tricked into giving up his personal details to scammers.

He then agreed to work for criminals claiming to be the police from China, and used forged papers to get personal details from an elderly victim in Singapore, installing software on his phone that enabled access to the victim’s money.

Alvin Ting Chun Wei claimed that he realised he was working for criminals only some time later and then turned himself in to the police. During their probe, the police found upskirt videos on his hard drives.

Ting, aged 27 and a Malaysian, was sentenced to three months and two weeks’ jail on Wednesday (Feb 21) after pleading guilty to three charges:

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• One of using a forged document to cheat

• One of abetting the unauthorised disclosure of a Singpass access code

• One of voyeurism

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Another charge of voyeurism was taken into consideration for sentencing.

Alleged Chinese police scam

In March last year, Ting was contacted by one Liu De Wei who claimed that he was a DBS bank employee and that Ting had a pending transaction of S$4,200 for a purchase of stone in China.

He responded that he had not made such a transaction and he did not own a DBS card. He was then told that his call would be transferred to the police in China.

A second person claiming to be the Chinese police said that Ting’s POSB bank account had been involved in illegal activities, to which Ting said that he did not have a POSB account.

Believing their claim that they needed his details to perform a check on him in their system, Ting gave them his personal details, information about his United Overseas Bank account and a photograph of himself. He was also told to remain in contact over WhatsApp.

A few days later, Ting was contacted by the supposed Chinese police who offered him a job to work “undercover” for them and assist with supposed investigations.

His was tasked to meet older Singaporeans who were unfamiliar with how to use their mobile phones and he would be installing software on their mobile devices.

Ting accepted the job offer. He was told that he would be paid S$2,500 to S$3,000 and that he had been selected because he was “good with electronic gadgets”, the court heard.

He was instructed to buy a formal suit, dress shoes, white shirt, printer, cardholder and briefcase and to send a photograph of himself for the job, after which he claimed these expenses from the “Chinese police”.

Forged MAS document

He then received two pdf documents containing photo identification of him over WhatsApp from the supposed Chinese police.

They bore the words “warrant card” and the MAS logo and appeared to be issued by the “financial supervision section” of MAS, alongside Ting’s photograph.

The first document had Ting’s name and a second document had the name “Chan Chun Wei”.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Eunice Chew said that Ting was told to throw the first document away in order to protect his identity.

Ting was instructed to place the second document in a cardholder and present it on his work assignments, where he had to dress formally.

Last March, he met four people on the instructions of the alleged Chinese police.

He asked the first person he met, a man, to affix his thumbprint on printed documents.

Ting asked the man to log into his Singpass account that held his personal information digitally, but the man did not remember his password.

After that, Ting took photographs of the man and his national identity card, which he then sent to the “Chinese police”.

Another day, he met a woman and also asked her to affix her thumbprint on some documents. He then downloaded an “Airdroid” application on her phone that allowed Ting to remotely control her phone after he changed her mobile phone settings.

He also met another man dressed in formal attire at the void deck of a public housing block in Woodlands and give him a printed copy of a photo identification document claiming that it was issued by MAS.

Ting was staying at his girlfriend’s house at the time because she lived near the location of his next meeting for his “jobs”.

The girlfriend showed him two news reports related to scammers impersonating Chinese officials, which caused him to realise that he was assisting people to cheat victims by posing as an MAS officer.

The next day, Ting went to the home of a 74-year-old retiree on the instructions of the scammers, lying that he was an MAS officer.

The retiree had been in contact with another scammer called “Her Long”, who informed him that an MAS officer would visit him to upgrade his banking status to being “VIP” of MAS.

Receiving instructions from the scammers via video call, Ting downloaded the “Airdroid” app on the man’s mobile phone and ensured that his phone could be controlled remotely.

He then observed someone controlling the man’s mobile phone remotely and trying to access the man’s CPF account unsuccessfully.

Ting was then instructed to download the Singpass app on the man’s phone and reset the man’s Singpass password.

The scammers thus successfully gained access to the man’s CPF account remotely to attempt a withdrawal from his savings there. However, because the amount in the account was insufficient, the scammers could not draw out the money. Ting received a total cash deposit of S$7,000 for his assistance in the illegal scam activities.

Going to the Singapore police

On March 29 last year, a few days after the activities involving the retiree, Ting made a police report here with the details of the scam and the instructions that he had received, stating that a friend had encouraged him to report the matter.

His girlfriend was interviewed by the Singapore police around a month later, and told the officer that she had showed Ting the two news articles on government official impersonation scams and advised him to file a report on March 26.

She also said that she had deleted her conversation history with her boyfriend. Investigations later revealed that Ting had met up with her on the day of her police interview and told her how to respond to the police’s questions.

When she was interviewed again in May, the girlfriend informed the police that she had shown Ting the news articles on March 24, the day before he facilitated remote access of the retiree’s CPF account by impersonating as a MAS officer.

Upskirt videos

On May 26 last year, when the police raided Ting’s home and seized his personal items, a forensic examination of the computer hard disks at his home revealed five videos and two photographs of women.

One was a 14-second upskirt video of a female in front of him at an escalator of an MRT station, where he zoomed into her buttocks and underwear that he had taken in December 2022.

In April last year, Ting took a similar video of a different female at an MRT station.

The man’s lawyer, Mr Che Wei Chin from law firm Fervent Chambers, argued that Ting had been “used as a pawn” by scammers claiming to be the Chinese authorities.

He said that Ting was not the “mastermind”, but “blindly following instructions” as a “cog” in a very sophisticated scheme conducted by impersonators of the Chinese police.

In reply, District Judge Eddy Tham said that Ting still played a “critical role” in the scam because he connected the scammers to their victims by installing the software that allowed the remote control of their devices.

Anyone who uses a forged document to cheat another person can be jailed for up to 10 years and be fined.

For abetting the unauthorised disclosure of access codes for an unlawful purpose, Ting could have been jailed for up to three years or been fined up to S$10,000.

For committing voyeurism, he could have been jailed for up to two years or been caned and fined. — TODAY