Chinese National Heads to Prison After Singapore Gambling Scam

Posted on: February 15, 2023, 06:58h. 

Last updated on: October 24, 2023, 07:17h.

A Chinese national who scammed two people in Singapore out of millions of dollars was recently sentenced to 12 years in prison. During her sentencing, the presiding judge called 41-year-old Wu Hong a “heartless con artist” who led a fake investment scam she told her victims would fund Chinese gamblers coming to the country.

Singapore's skyline at Marina Bay at twilight
Singapore’s skyline at Marina Bay at twilight. A Chinese national scammed victims out of millions of dollars using a fraudulent gambling scheme. (Image: iStockPhoto)

Wu appeared for her sentencing in court this week. She was found guilty of five fraud charges. Each fraud charge carried a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and monetary fines.

Wu met her first victim, Tam Kwong Yoeng, in a bar in 2013. It would take another three years before she launched the fraud, which also ensnared a 61-year-old victim, Soh Choon Heong.

Wu convinced her victims to give her money for investments between 2016 and 2019, according to reports from The Strait Times. Tam gave up more than SGD1.4 million (US$1.05 million) over the course of the scam. Soh reportedly turned over SGD734,000 (US$550,133). Soh also put in came from friends, including well-known media personalities.

But when Wu could not produce any returns, they grew increasingly suspicious.

Investing in Gambling

The scheme involved a tale of gambling on behalf of unidentified Chinese gamblers, for which the investors would receive huge returns. Tam admitted that he had been completely fooled by Wu, voluntarily giving up the money because he trusted her completely. He never asked for a receipt, and even after growing suspicious, he turned over more money.

It wasn’t until his patience wore out that Tam took action. He began recording his conversations with Wu, which he then turned over to authorities in 2018. At the time, an investigation began, but no action was taken.

Authorities did not intervene until February 2020, after Soh came forward with her own claims. She was arrested shortly after.

When Wu first appeared in court, she claimed that the pair was trying to frame her.

Loot Box Lust

It isn’t uncommon for fraudsters to use the allure of gambling to concoct fraudulent schemes. What’s uncommon, though, is someone as young as 16 having the wherewithal to do it.

That’s the story of an unidentified 16-year-old in Singapore who scammed his friends out of money. He told them he had a lot of money in cryptocurrency investments and could help them do the same.

He convinced his friends to give him SGD330,000 (US$248,884), which he spent gambling online and buying loot boxes in video games. That was five years ago, and the scammer finally appeared in court last year to answer for his crimes.

He initially faced 84 charges but pleaded guilty to three. Because of his age, he only served a short stint of a couple of years in prison, avoiding the maximum penalty he could have received.