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     FrontPage Edition: Thu 7 February 2008

More reports of kidnap scam cases

Source: www.spf.gov.sg

Kidnap Scamsters Continue To Strike
 
Police arrested a 41-year old Chinese national yesterday (3 Feb 2008) morning for his suspected involvement in two cases of kidnap scams. He will be charged in court tomorrow (5 Feb 2008) for Dishonestly Disposing Stolen Property under Section 414 of the Penal Code, Chapter 2241. This brings to a total of 5 arrests of people suspected to be involved in the commission of kidnap scams.
Phone scams, of which kidnap scams are a variant, were a major crime concern in 2007. In the first month of 2008 alone, another four members of public have fallen victim to kidnap scamsters. They were cheated of $40,000 in total. Some members of public who received such calls were luckier.
On 31 Jan 08 at about 2pm, a woman, 45-year-old Mdm Yeo received a call on her office phone. Upon picking up the phone, she heard someone claiming to be her son asking her for help, after which another Chinese man, believed to be PRC, took over the phone and told her that her son had been kidnapped and demanded for $30,000 in ransom.
When she said she only had $2,000, the “kidnapper” told her to withdraw the money and remit it to China through a remittance company at Chin Swee Road immediately. The man also forbade her from hanging up and told her to lie to the remittance staff that she was remitting the money to a known acquaintance.
At the remittance centre, the staff reminded her if she was aware of cheating scams which have been publicized in the media. As Mdm Yeo was convinced that the voice she had heard over the phone was that of her son’s, she asked the staff to go ahead with the remittance.
Still worried about her son’s safety, she then asked her colleague to try to contact her son. Her colleague then sought Police’s help. Police acted swiftly and located her son at his school and verified that he was safe. Police also managed to stop the remittance transaction in time.
Commander of Central Police Division, Superintendent Lau Peet Meng reminds the public to remain calm when they receive such calls. In addition, the public should pose questions to the kidnapper to verify the identity of the purported kidnapped victim, for instance, the number of family members staying together or whether there are pets in the house. This will help them to establish if the call is indeed genuine. He added, “Police have worked with various stakeholders, such as the banks and remittance centres, and our crime prevention ambassadors, to help the public. But, most importantly, we need the public to continue to be aware and vigilant.”

Source: www.spf.gov.sg Media Release 4 Feb 2008

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