- Probation for two youths who ran charity scam
- Teens spread anti-loan shark message
- Scratch and lose for naive victims
TWO youths, who claimed they were probationers tasked with soliciting for donations for a charity, are now really serving probation. District Judge Siva Shanmugam sentenced Brian Sie Eng Fa, 20, and Ho Loong Ann, 19, to 18 months' probation on Tuesday and also ordered to perform 100 hours of community service.
Sometime at the end of last year, the duo hatched a plan to obtain fast cash by selling badges for S$2 (RM5) each for St Luke's Elder Care, a charitable body that provides a variety of day care services for elderly folk. For donations of S$10 (RM25) or more, they offered the badge for free. They had bought the badges for an undisclosed sum in Thailand.
On Jan 9, Ho forged two donation registration permits purportedly issued by St Luke's and endorsed by the Singapore Police Force.
At 8am, the duo started from the top floor of a block of flats in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8. However, a resident was suspicious and called the police at 9.20am. Officers nabbed the two cheats at 10pm with 14 badges and the two forged permits. By that time, the two youths had cheated residents of $325. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network
"KENNETH" remembers vividly the dread that gripped his heart when a loan shark came pounding at the door of his flat one night.
Then a pre-schooler, he ran to hide in his room, only to be greeted seconds later with the sight of his dog dashing in after him, its body splashed with blue paint.
Kenneth (not his real name) had been living with his grandfather, who had debts with loan sharks.
Today, the 15-year-old patrols his neighbourhood and approaches members of the public to warn them against borrowing money from such people.
Kenneth is part of the Youth Community Outreach Programme (COP) team, which accompanies policemen on patrols and advises the public on crime prevention.
The project, a partnership between the Students Care Service (SCS), schools and the police, aims to rope in students who may or may not be deemed to be at risk to do some form of community policing. Teachers can nominate students to volunteer or students can volunteer themselves.
It is hoped that the authority and trust placed in them will encourage them to stay away from crime.
"We want to catch them earlier," said Zhuang Xinyan, social worker at SCS.
"Instead of labelling some as bad kids, we give them a positive identity and they usually try to meet those expectations."
Those who have taken part in the patrols have improved their attendance, behaviour and motivation levels in school, Zhuang added.
When The Straits Times tagged along on a patrol to Clementi Town Centre two Thursdays ago, the normally shy teens had their self-confidence tested as they spoke to strangers and handed them loan shark harassment leaflets.
Since the project started in 2007, 375 youths from five schools have taken part in the monthly patrols. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network
SINGAPOREANS are still falling victim to scratch-and-win scams in Malaysia – despite many warnings and an ongoing crackdown by the authorities across the Causeway.
And although the number of reported cases has fallen, the con artists are making off with more money each time.
The average amount stolen has hit S$6,300 (RM16,040), Singapore police statistics show, up from S$4,000 (RM10,182) last year.
At least five victims have reportedly lost more than S$10,000 (RM25,455) each.
The scam works like this: The crooks approach the victims and ask them to try their luck with a scratch card.
They tell the victims they have won a mystery prize and ask them to go to an office to find out what it is. When they arrive, the con men reveal the "prize", usually cheap electrical goods, such as foot massagers.
The victims are offered the chance to win a more substantial prize, and asked to hand over cash in advance to cover bogus costs such as "taxes".
Malaysian police have been trying to clamp down on the scam, with some success.
Around 30 Singaporeans reportedly fell for it between January and May, down from 46 in the same period last year. But the amounts involved are on the rise.
Yesterday, Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao said that a 39-year-old secretary had been cheated out of more than S$25,000 (RM63,651), the most lost by a victim from Singapore in a single case so far.
Yesterday, a Johor policeman said that a task force had been set up last month to tackle scratch-and-win scams.
At least eight suspects have been charged, said the officer, who asked not to be named because he did not have permission to speak to the media.
These included some of the alleged organisers.
"The scam is nothing permanent; it comes and goes," he said "They are just opportunists at work."
In February, police on both sides of the Causeway launched a series of pamphlets that have been distributed at the Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints, as well as tourist spots in Johor. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network
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