In June this year, three men impersonated police officers to cheat a prostitute, making away with over $15,000 worth of valuables.
At the time of the crime, one of the men – Liu Aik Kang – had also been on bail for an earlier offence of stealing from a nightclub performer’s flat.
The 25-year-old pleaded guilty at the State Courts on Wednesday (31 October) to one count of cheating by impersonation and one count of theft in dwelling. Another two counts of theft in dwelling will be taken into consideration for when Liu is sentenced.
His two accomplices in the impersonation ploy – 29-year-old Tan Shi Feng and 26-year-old Hu Zhihao – have yet to be dealt with by the court. Tan was a Navy regular at the time of the offence while Hu is a former Navy officer.
Hu, a cousin of Liu, had also allegedly participated in the earlier crime.
In early June, the three men discussed a plan to cheat prostitutes by impersonating police officers. They assumed that such victims would be less inclined to make police reports.
Tan suggested to the others that they bring items such as a note pad, ziplock bag and gloves. Meanwhile, Liu said they should take along a video camera to make their deception appear more convincing.
After searching online, Tan found a victim and made an appointment to visit her apartment in Balestier.
According to their plan, Tan would first enter the home pretending to be a genuine customer. After making sure that no one else was in the home, Tan would signal the others – who would enter and declare themselves as policemen. They were to use a Navy camp pass as “identification”.
At about 11.40pm on 23 June, the trio arrived at the woman’s unit and executed their scheme. Hu held out the video camera during the act to make the “police raid” appear more genuine.
The three told the woman that they suspected her of conducting illegal activities and needed to conduct a search of her flat. Believing the men to be real police officers, the woman allowed them to seize items from the unit.
In total, the trio stole $15,000 in cash and an iPhone valued at $600. They split the cash among themselves and threw away the iPhone after smashing it.
The incident was reported to the police at 2.16am the next day.
Hu and Liu were identified through CCTV footage and arrested on the same day. They provided Tan’s identity to the police and he was arrested that evening.
Only $3,050 was recovered from Tan while the rest of the money had been spent.
The earlier crime involved Hu recruiting Liu to help him steal from a performer who worked at Club V. From his interactions with a club employee, Hu had come to learn that the latter did not lock his flat.
Between 1am and 2am on 16 May, Hu and Liu entered the man’s flat in search of items to steal. They eventually made off with $8,000 worth of items from three different victims – all residents of the flat. These included a laptop, Canon camera and its accessories.
Two days later, Hu told Liu that a bouncer from Club V had obtained CCTV footage of the two of them entering the leaving the flat.
Liu decided to surrender himself to the police on 24 May. He was released on police bail the same day.
Liu is expected to be sentenced for his crimes on 29 November. For cheating by personation, he faces a jail term of up to five years, a fine, or both.
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