On Thursday (10 September), Straits Times reported that three men were involved in robbing a Malaysian man out of S$365,000 in cash after fooling him into a bitcoin sale, one of them being Jaromel Gee Ming Li, 29.
According to court documents, Mr Gee and 39-year old Mohd Abdul Rahman Mohamad hatched a plan for this robbery back in April 2018, roping in another man named Syed Mokhtar Syed Yusope.
Mr Mokthar pleaded guilty to one charge of robbery in a district Court on Wednesday (9 September). The case of the other two men are still pending.
In court documents, Deputy Public Prosecutors Chin Jincheng, Chong Yong and Audrey Choo said that Mr Gee was involved in bitcoin brokerage at that time, presenting himself as a seller to arrange transactions between parties who wanted to buy and sell bitcoins.
He enlisted the help of Mr Rahman in these dealings.
The prosecutors detailed that the two men came up with a plan to rob prospective buyers out of their money without actually selling them any bitcoins.
On 8 April 2018, a Malaysian buyer arrived at Hotel 81 in Middle Road to buy bitcoins from sellers in Singapore, carrying with him S$365,000 in cash. The court documents did not say if he brought the cash in with him from Malaysia.
According to the prosecutors, Mr Gee found out from a contact that Mr Pang intended to buy bitcoins. He told Mr Rahman and asked him to bring another person along to help him with the robbery. This person was Mr Mokthar.
The DPPs said, “Abdul Rahman contacted Mokhtar and told him of the plan… Mokhtar’s role was to accompany Abdul Rahman to commit robbery… and drive both of them away in Mokhtar’s car after the robbery.
“Mokhtar agreed to meet up with Abdul Rahman at Hotel 81 to execute the plan.”
The two of them arrived at the hotel around 11pm. Together with a bitcoin broker named Mr Lee Chee Kwok, they went to Mr Pang’s room and asked where the money was.
After being shown the money, Mr Mokthar punched the Malaysian once on the left cheek. When the broker attempted to intervene, Mr Mokthar punched him as well. Mr Rahman then grabbed the bag with the money before leaving the room with Mr Mokthar.
The DPP told the court that Mokhtar received $10,000, depositing S$5,000 of it into his bank account. He was arrested the next day at Woodlands Checkpoint where officers seized the other S$5,000.
Mr Gee was sentenced to three years’ jail and 12 strokes of the cane on Thursday (10 Sept).
Another bitcoin scam
This isn’t the only bitcoin related crime Mr Gee has been involved in. On 2 September, 8World news site reported that a Singaporean involved in a bitcoin trading scam defrauded a money changer out of S$300,000.
The Defendant is Kato Hitoshi, who pleaded guilty to the charge of conspiracy to defraud, and was sentenced to 40 months in jail.
One of the two men he conspired with was none other than Jaromel Gee, who posed as a bitcoin broker this time.
Note at this point that Mr Gee was previously arrested on 18 April, 2018 for the previous case.
According to the report, Mr Gee found a bitcoin buyer and made an appointment to meet the buyer’s assistant in January earlier this year at the buyer’s office.
Mr Kato and Mr Gee, after confirming that the bitcoin transaction was successful, had the victim transfer money to a Chinese bank account of another conspirator.
Things went south when Kato left the office with the excuse of wanting to smoke. He then texted Mr Gee so say he felt unsafe. However, the assistant became suspicious and informed his boss that one of the sellers has left.
An intense quarrel broke out, resulting in Mr Gee having to ask the buyer to call the police as he feared for his own safety.
Mr Gee was remanded by the police on 7 Feb this year and the verdict of this case is still pending for Mr Gee.
Jaromel Gee Ming Li is Jaro Gee
For those who are active on social-media discussing Singapore politics, the name Jaro Gee rings a bell for most people.
A blog post published in 2016, documents the antics of “Jaro Gee” who is labelled as a hardcore People’s Action Party (PAP) supporter.
The post also notes that Jaro Gee is also known as Jaromel Gee.
But is this Jaromel Gee the same guy as the accused in the above two cases?
While it appears that the Facebook account of “Jaro Gee” has been deactivated but his LinkedIn profile is still accessible.
From the Linkedin page, we are informed that Jaro Gee runs a company named Epic Food and Beverages Pte Ltd.
So in order to confirm that this Jaro Gee is indeed the same person named in this recent robbery case, we checked the full name of this company director against the person named in the two cases.
As it turns out, both the full name and age checks out, as you can see from the screenshot below of the company’s business profile:
Jaromel Gee was an active PAP party member online and offline
So Mr Jaromel Gee, was earlier named by Straits Times in a 2015 report as being the founder of the Silent No More Facebook page, which describes itself as a “ground-up intiative started by People’s Action Party (PAP) supporters for fellow supporters”.
The article said, “Its main administrator and founder, Mr Jaromel Gee, 25, wrote in July on its Facebook page that it aims to ‘circulate the correct information online’.”
Mr Gee is identified as a PAP party member in the report. TOC understands that Mr Gee had at one point been volunteering at Nee Soon GRC which is helmed by the Minister of Home Affairs and Law, K Shanmugam.
Other than being on the defense for PAP online, he has also been on the offensive as part of the PAP Internet Brigade (IB) by attacking members of the alternative parties on social media.
One clear example is a comment he left on an article on SG Hard Truths about the very public Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council. case against several members of the Workers’ Party.
Mr Gee said: “I think even the opposition supporters need to open up their ears and listen. This is public money unaccounted for. There is a problem and WP is the cause.”
The status of Mr Gee’s membership with the PAP remains unclear.