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7 youths aged 19 to 22 charged over recent OCBC phishing scams; 6 others under probe

SINGAPORE — The police have arrested nine men and four women, aged between 19 and 22, for their alleged involvement in a spate of high-profile phishing scams involving OCBC Bank between December last year and January.

7 youths aged 19 to 22 charged over recent OCBC phishing scams; 6 others under probe

The police seized an array of mobile devices, bank cards, SIM cards, cash amounting to S$2,760 and two Rolex watches, worth a total of S$35,600, from the suspects.

SINGAPORE — The police have arrested nine men and four women, aged between 19 and 22, for their alleged involvement in a spate of high-profile phishing scams involving OCBC Bank between December last year and January.

In a news release on Sunday (Feb 20) evening, the police said that seven men among those nabbed were charged in court on Friday. The scams had hit 790 OCBC customers who lost a total of S$13.7 million to the scammers.

The police said they had been closely monitoring reports of the phishing scams and identified the 13 suspects through “thorough investigations and extensive probes”. They were arrested in an islandwide operation on Feb 16 and 17.

An array of mobile devices, bank cards, SIM cards, S$2,760 in cash and two Rolex watches — worth S$35,600 in total — were seized.

The seven men, all Singaporeans, hauled to court each face a charge of helping another to retain the benefits of criminal conduct, under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act. They are:

  • Brayden Cheng Ming Yan, 19
  • Kong Jia Quan, 19
  • Jovan Soh Jun Yan, 19
  • Roy Peh Yong Rong, 19
  • Muhammad Khairuddin Eskandariah, 20
  • Lim Kai Ze, 21
  • Leong Jun Xian, 21

Court documents showed that around December last year, they had each procured control of at least one bank account and handed control of the accounts over to unknown people, identified as “Ah Seng” and “William”.

They allegedly had reasonable grounds to believe that the unknown people were engaged in criminal conduct.

All seven have been remanded for further investigations. Those convicted can be jailed for up to 10 years or fined up to S$500,000, or punished with both.

Police investigations against the other six suspects are ongoing.

Court documents showed that Leong and Kong had previously been charged with belonging to a secret society and assaulting four others with other men.

Meanwhile, Soh faces separate charges of cheating Standard Chartered Bank in July last year into opening a bank account for him by making them believe he was the sole operator of the account. He also allegedly provided an unknown person with the account username and password.

The police warned that they would “spare no effort” to track down those involved in scams. Members of the public should always reject requests by others to use their bank account or mobile lines as they could be held accountable if they are linked to crimes, the police added.

The public can visit www.scamalert.sg or call the anti-scam hotline at 1800-722-6688. Anyone with information on such scams can also call the police hotline at 1800-255-0000 or submit information online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness.

On Wednesday, OCBC announced that customers will now be able to freeze their own accounts by activating a “kill switch” if they believe that they have fallen victim to a scam.

The Singapore-based bank completed arrangements to reimburse all the victims with "goodwill payments" late last month.

The scam prompted Finance Minister Lawrence Wong to issue a ministerial statement on Tuesday that touched on the measures banks and authorities were mulling over to tackle the problem.

Related topics

OCBC phishing scam phishing crime

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