China officials impersonation scam: Man charged for collecting $74,000 from victims

·Senior Reporter
(PHOTO: Getty Images)
(PHOTO: Getty Images)

A Taiwanese man has been charged for receiving $74,000 in criminal proceeds from victims of a scam involving criminals who impersonated Chinese officials.

Huang Hsiang-Wei, 25, was arrested on 8 January after he was found with the cash and was unable to provide a reasonable explanation as to why he had it.

He was charged with fraudulently possessing the money two days later but had his charge amended at the State Courts on Wednesday (17 January). Huang now faces one count of being in possession of the benefits of criminal conduct by a man known as “Gao Fu Shuai”.

According to the police, Huang collected the money from three victims of the “China Officials Impersonation Scam” at the instruction of a “boss” from Taiwan.

The scam involved victims receiving text messages or calls, which appeared to be from official government hotlines such as “110” or “999”. Strangers on the line would then tell the victims that they were required to assist in criminal investigations and to prove that their money was “clean”.

The strangers would then instruct the victims to give their internet banking details or passwords through a fake Singapore Police Force or China Police websites. They were also sometimes shown fake “warrant of arrests” with their photographs on these websites.

In other cases, victims would be asked to withdraw their money and pass it to strangers or remit the money to China-based bank accounts.

In December, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said that $12 million had been lost to such scams between January and November last year. The SPF said it had received at least 158 reports involving victims who were duped by those pretending to be Chinese government officials.

If convicted, Huang could be jailed up to 10 years, fined up to $500,000, or both.

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