PETALING JAYA: A 40-year-old Malaysian who overstayed in Singapore for more than six years and cheated his fellow countrymen of S$10,000 in rental scams has been jailed 14 months and given three strokes of the cane in the city-state.
Er Chern Siew pleaded guilty to seven charges, six of which were related to cheating and one for overstaying in the country.
Singaporean portal Today Online reported that Er was arrested on Oct 14. He first entered Singapore by bus in May 2015 to hunt for a job, but only had a 14-day visit pass.
Deputy public prosecutor Gabriel Choong said Er stayed on in the country for 2,394 days working as a salesman and real estate agent, though he was not licensed by Singapore’s Estate Agents Act.
To avoid getting caught, he stayed in various locations around the country and had even signed the lease for a unit at an undisclosed location under his friend’s name, Lim Sau Sen.
He also used this friend’s identification details for the TraceTogether phone app – Singapore’s equivalent of the MySejahtera app – amid the pandemic and registered his mobile number under his girlfriend, Kok Po Yen.
He was eventually apprehended after a victim of his scams filed a police report in July last year.
Between July 1 and Sept 26 last year, Er was found to have cheated 14 victims into placing rental deposits for the same unit at an apartment complex along Lorong 35 Geylang.
His victims included at least five Malaysians, all of whom were women, while the sums of monies involved ranged between S$800 and S$850.
Choong said Er would message people who appear to be Malaysians living in Singapore on social media in trying to garner their interest in renting properties he managed.
He scammed one woman by convincing her into depositing S$850 in rental deposit into his girlfriend’s bank account, before claiming that there was a delay in the move-in date and eventually becoming uncontactable.