He asked his then-girlfriend to sign up for mobile plans with two telcos and when she refused, he threatened to distribute her nude photographs to her parents. The student ended up giving in to his demands and subscribing to two service plans that come with mobile phones with a total value of $3,143.
Singaporean Daryl Cheong Zhi Yong, 24, was jailed two years and one month, fined $30,000 and caned three strokes of the cane on Thursday (3 August) for one count of extortion, among three charges. Cheong was also convicted of one count of theft and one count of assisting in unlicensed moneylending. Another count of extortion was taken into account for sentencing.
The extortion incident took place on 13 July 2016, when the Cheong, a chef of a small eatery, was still in a relationship with the 21-year-old woman. Cheong texted and asked her to sign up for a Singtel mobile plan with a Samsung S6 handset and a Starhub mobile plan with an Oppo handset. When the woman refused, he threatened to hand her nude photographs, which he had obtained when they were dating, to her parents.
Fearing for her reputation, the woman complied and subscribed to two different plans worth $1,455 and $1,688. Cheong later sold off the two mobile phones that came with the plans. The woman lodged a police report about the incident a month later.
Cheong also faces one count of stealing from his elder brother, Stanley Cheong Zhi Qiang on 12 March 2016. When his brother was out, Cheong went to his room, lifted his bed and saw his brother’s safe unlocked. He then stole a gold chain $1,000, two gold rings worth $1,000, Takashimaya vouchers worth $2,000 and $520 in cash.
Cheong threw the Takashimaya vouchers away and sold the jewellery. He then spent the cash proceeds on his own things. His brother lodged a police report four days later.
Cheong also assisted in illegal moneylending in August 2014. He had handed over his POSB ATM card and personal identification number linked to the account to a woman named Jojo to facilitate her unlicensed moneylending business. Between 30 August and 30 November 2014, $115,910 was deposited into his POSB account, and $116,036 was withdrawn.
Cheong was arrested on 26 July last year for his suspected involvement in the unlicensed moneylending activities. Prior to his extortion offence, Cheong was found guilty of two counts of sexual penetration of a minor and one count of cheating in 2015.
Cheong’s lawyer Richard Ng, who was assigned by the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, said in mitigation that his Cheong uttered the threat in anger and that he is remorseful for his actions. Cheong had intended to tell the woman he would pay for the monthly instalments for the mobile plans but the plans were already terminated by then.
The extortion carries a minimum jail term of two years and a maximum of seven years, with caning. For theft, Cheong could have been jailed up to seven years and fined. For assisting in unlicensed moneylending, he could have been jailed up to four years’, fined $300,000 jail and caned up to six strokes.