Mastermind of EZ-Link scam syndicate jailed 1 year 7 months

Wan Ting Koh
·3-min read
An EZ-Link card against a map.
An EZ-Link card against a map. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The mastermind of a syndicate that defrauded EZ-link of nearly $266,000 was jailed for a year and seven months on Friday (5 February).

Ng Wei Chang, 26, carried out the scam between 1 January and 14 June 2019 by taking advantage of the EZ-Reload Program’s auto top-up function. He had five accomplices.

Ng pleaded guilty to one count each under the Computer Misuse Act and Corruption for unauthorised access to computer material and the Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act for acquiring from an accomplice $1,500 in criminal proceeds.

Two remaining counts of a similar nature taken into consideration for sentencing.

How the program works

Users of EZ-Link card could add value to their cards through the EZ-Reload Program, where cards are automatically topped-up if the payment that they were used for exceeds the stored value.

The program would automatically top up the card by debiting funds from a source of funds, such as a debit card, which would have been previously designated by the the user in the app.

Those who used OCBC bank accounts may use the OCBC ATMs to convert the stored value in the EZ-Link cards into cash by transferring the stored values in EZ-Link cards to their bank account.

To commit the offences, Ng registered at least 125 EZ-link accounts on the app and linked at least 1,221 EZ-Link cards to these accounts. He procured another 29 EZ-Link cards from his accomplices.

Even though only a debit card could only be used for one EZ-link account, Ng circumvented this restriction by applying for multiple replacement cards from DBS. He also recruited his friends to supply their DBS debit cards and offered them commission of between $50 and $200.

He managed to obtain at least 165 DBS debit cards in his own name and procured another 74 from others.

“On 5,323 occasions, Ng topped-up the stored value of the 1,250 EZ-Link cards by placing them onto card readers connected to EZ-Link’s network, to bring the stored value below $0, and thereby triggering the EZ-Reload Program to top-up the value of those EZ-Link cards,” said the prosecution.

Ng managed to top up at least $265,800.

He never intended to deposit sufficient value in the linked DBS bank accounts, nor to make payment for the automatic top-ups performed by the EZ-Reload Program and ignored SMS reminders to make payments for these top-ups.

Between January and February 2019, Ng would use OCBC ATMs to convert the stored value in the EZ-Link cards into cash.

After February 2019, he realised he could not longer convert the value into cash, so he made purchases with his EZ-Link cards or recruited accomplices to buy or re-sell cigarettes. Ng would pocket proceeds from the sale of cigarettes and give his accomplices a commission.

He has not made any restitution to date.

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