SINGAPORE, Aug 11 — A couple who allegedly scammed millions of dollars from luxury-goods buyers was nabbed in Johor Baru todaywith the help of the Thai and Malaysian authorities, about a month after they fled Singapore by hiding in the container compartment of a lorry.
Singaporean Pi Jiapeng, 26, and his 27-year-old Thai wife Pansuk Siriwipa have been accused of cheating victims who made advance payments for luxury watches and bags. The pair then purportedly failed to deliver the goods.
Arrest warrants and Interpol red notices were issued against them after at least 180 police reports involving the two companies they were behind, Tradenation and Tradeluxury, were lodged since June.
Today, the Singapore Police Force said that it had been “working closely with various foreign law enforcement agencies” to secure the couple’s return to Singapore.
It received information from the Royal Thai Police on Wednesday that Pi and Pansuk may have been putting up in a hotel across the Causeway in Johor Baru, Malaysia.
The Singapore police then sought the Royal Malaysia Police’s help to locate them. The couple was arrested by Malaysian police today and handed over to SPF.
They will be charged in court tomorrow and investigations are ongoing, SPF added.
They will face charges of criminal conspiracy to commit cheating as well as illegal departure from Singapore.
Two Malaysian men have already been charged with conspiring to arrange for the couple to be smuggled out of Singapore in a Malaysia-registered lorry through Tuas Checkpoint on July 4.
The men — Mohamad Fazli Abdul Rahman, 38, and lorry driver Mohamed Alias, 40 — recently indicated that they wish to plead guilty. They have been remanded here due to the high risk that they could also flee the country.
Pi, who was born in Fujian province in China, was initially arrested in Singapore on June 27. He had his passport impounded and was released on bail the next day, pending the completion of investigations.
Pansuk was assisting the police with investigations and surrendered her passport to officers on June 30. Both later could not be contacted.
Tradenation was registered as a precious stones and metals dealer on April 2, the Ministry of Law said. Registered dealers are regulated under the Registrar of Regulated Dealers for anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism purposes.
Its registration has been suspended and can be cancelled.
Under the Immigration Act, anyone who illegally leaves Singapore or abets the offence faces at least six months’ and up to two years’ jail and may also be fined up to S$6,000 (RM19,481.38).
Any abetment of offences in Singapore, even if committed outside the country, is punishable under the law here Those convicted of cheating can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.
Today, SPF said: “The Singapore authorities will do whatever is necessary and permissible under Singapore law to pursue and bring to justice those who commit crimes in Singapore, regardless of where they might have fled to. — TODAY