Singaporean man turns himself in after 21 years on the run

A Singaporean man, Tan Say Wee, 46, turned himself in after 21 years on the run and was convicted of four counts of committing forgery for the purpose of cheating, and another four counts of taking part in a conspiracy to commit such crimes, as well as another 10 counts of similar offences which were taken into account during sentencing.

The man jumped bail in 1996 after being charged with forgery to fraudulently obtain credit cards for racking up S$34,000 in expenses using the credit cards he obtained through forgery.

In Feburary 1996, the court heard that Tan had in his possession a sales agreement for the purchase of a flat jointly owned by one Mr Teo Choon Huat and one Ms Teng Kin Leng, as well as a tenancy agreement between his mother and one Ms Ang Swee Lian.

The documents contained the personal particulars, including NRIC numbers and signatures, of the four people. However, it is still not known how he got the documents.

Tan followed a suggestion from his friend, William Chiah Wee Ming to use Mr Teo’s name and personal particulars to apply for credit cards from Hong Kong Bank. The bank subsequently delivered two credit cards, bearing Mr Teo’s name, to Chiah.

Chiah spent almost to S$22,000 with the cards, it was not stated what the money was spent on.

In March, they did the same with the personal particulars of Ms Teng and Ms Ang and received more Hong Kong Bank credit cards, racking up a bill of more than S$12,000.

The court heard that Chiah paid Tan S$600 for his help.

Tan also used the particulars of his uncle, Mr Tan Beng Hui, to obtain a credit card from Overseas Union Bank for his own use.

The scheme was brought to light when Diners Club called Mr Teo in August last year, to ask if he had applied for a credit card from the company. At that time, Mr Teo informed the company that someone had been using his particulars without his consent.

Tan was arrested when he was collecting the credit card from Diners Club. He then fled to Malaysia while out on bail in a private taxi before a court appearance on 8 November. The court also heard that Chiah remains at large.

Defence lawyer Choo Si Sen asked for a two-year sentence, saying that Tan returned to Singapore after 21 years as he heard his father has lung cancer.

However, Deputy Public Prosecutor David Koh seek for a harsher punishment and charged that Tan ran a “sophisticated scheme” and no restitution has been made.

Tan will be back on court on 17 January for sentencing. The maximum penalty for his offences is a jail term of up to 10 years, and a fine.