Man who got into debt from visits to 'diao hua' clubs forged mother's signature to sell her Rolls Royce and Mini Cooper

He received $150,000 from the car dealer after he asked a Taiwan-based friend to pretend to be his mother and authorise the sale of her cars.

The man had forged his mother's signature to sell her high-end cars after he got into debt from visiting 'diao hua' clubs. (Photos: Getty Images, Yahoo Southeast Asia)
The man had forged his mother's signature to sell her high-end cars after he got into debt from visiting 'diao hua' clubs. (Photos: Getty Images, Yahoo Southeast Asia)

SINGAPORE — A 33-year-old man was found guilty of forging his mother’s signature and selling her cars - a Rolls Royce Dawn 6.6 V12 and a Mini Cooper SE - to pay off the debts he had racked up from his frequent visits to 'diao hua' clubs.

Liu Kuei Liang, also known as Kent, was sentenced on 22 March to 12 weeks’ jail over two charges of forging sales and purchase agreements.

According to a judgement made available on Wednesday (27 March), Liu regularly visited clubs and would frequently 'diao hua', or buy flower garlands, for female singers as tips for them.

By August 2022, he had gotten himself into a substantial amount of debt, local media CNA reported. This was when the idea of selling his mother’s cars came to him.

Liu asked a friend to pretend to be his mother over the phone

Liu contacted Low Lye Seng, a representative from car dealer Autoart Singapore, on 1 August 2022.

After agreeing upon the price of $700,000 and $130,000 for the Rolls Royce and Mini Cooper respectively, Low sent over the sales and purchase agreements via WhatsApp.

Liu lied to Low that his mother was in Taiwan, even though she was in Singapore. He then proceeded to forge his mother’s signatures on the agreements and sent it back to Low via WhatsApp.

When another Autoart representative asked to speak to Liu’s mother to confirm the sale of the cars, Liu provided the number of his friend in Taiwan instead.

He got his friend, named as Lala by English daily The Straits Times, to pretend to be his mother and approve the sale of the cars. The Autoart representative was deceived into believing that the sale had been authorised by Liu’s mother.

With the “authorisation”, Low sent Liu a deposit of $100,000 for the Rolls Royce and $50,000 for the Mini Cooper via PayNow.

Liu’s mother lodged a police report on 16 August 2022 against Liu, as she believed he had forged her signatures and sold her cars behind without her consent.

In court, Deputy Public Prosecutor Vishnu Menon sought up to six months’ jail for Liu as the case involved large sums of money and Liu exerted much effort, even involving a friend based in Taiwan to “cement that lie”.

DPP says fine 'inappropriate' for Liu as his mother could pay for it

According to CNA, defence lawyer Vijai Dharamadas Parwani of Parwani Law asked for a high fine instead, arguing that Liu’s mother had previously given her son permission to use the cars as needed.

He said that Liu was looking for “temporary financing” when he tried to sell the cars, and that it was a “momentary lapse of judgement”.

He added that the cars that the dealer had received had a value “far in excess of the deposit paid”, and that the cars had been returned to Liu’s mother after the initial deposit had been refunded by her. The Rolls Royce was later sold for $1 million, CNA reported.

The defence said that Liu’s mother “has since reconciled with the accused” and had lodged the police report “in a moment of pique”, adding, “She has forgiven the accused and would not be asking him for a refund of the deposit amount.”

However, DPP Menon said that the restitution had not been made by Liu himself, and a fine was inappropriate as Liu’s mother could pay for the fine.

He added that Liu’s mother’s forgiveness, or that she would need to take care of Liu’s young child if Liu got a jail sentence, should not be a mitigating factor.

Liu 'relied on mother to rescue him from his mistakes': Judge

According to CNA, District Judge Brenda Chua said that there were two victims in this case, the car dealer and Liu’s mother.

Even though the car dealer had their $150,000 deposit refunded, they suffered losses from the time value of the amount, any interest accrued and opportunity cost.

Liu’s mother had been taken advantage of by her son and had to pay back the $150,000 that he took, the Judge Chua said, noting that Liu himself had made no restitution or any amends on his own and had “relied on the mother to rescue him from his mistakes”.

“I agreed with the prosecution that whilst the accused pleaded guilty, restitution did not emanate from the accused,” the judge said in her ruling.

“As the prosecution stated, [If] someone else pays for your crime, how can we say that ‘you are remorseful’?”

Liu has appealed against the sentence and is out on bail pending appeal.

Liu could have been jailed for up to four years, fined, or both for each count of forgery.

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