SINGAPORE: Two men have been arrested for their suspected involvement in a foreign syndicate that sells fake gold items to elderly victims.
Police were alerted to the syndicate’s presence on 2 January 2013.
A member of the group first contacts potential victims claiming to be a distant relative.
After gaining their trust, the members would then claim they were construction workers and had unearthed an urn containing a variety of items. These include gold pieces, old currencies, wills and letters from a worksite.
The members would then convince the victims to buy the fake items.
The suspects would also provide victims with a chipped—off sample from one of the items to allow them to verify its authenticity.
The syndicate obtained the contact numbers of potential victims through publications by clans and associations in Singapore.
The Bedok Police Division and Police Intelligence Department began monitoring the activities of the syndicate in Singapore upon receiving the information.
Officers managed to identify the identities, frequent haunts, networks and operating mode of the syndicate.
Police arrested the two suspects, aged 41 and 45, in Bishan on 6 January, after collaborating with a potential victim.
The suspects worked in a pair and attempted to sell the victim some fake gold ingots and old coins.
Police also raided the hotel rooms rented by the pair in Geylang.
They recovered 105 fake ingots, laughing Buddha statues, old notes and coins, an old will, several publications by clans and associations in Singapore and mobile phones.
The suspects are believed to be linked to the same syndicate in December 2011, where four men were arrested for a similar scam.
The two suspects will be charged in court on 8 January. If convicted, they could be imprisoned for up to 10 years and also be liable to a fine.
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