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3 nabbed for duping man of S$1.72m, largest amount lost in China officials impersonation scam this year

[SINGAPORE] Three Taiwanese men were arrested on Friday for their suspected involvement in a China officials impersonation scam in which a victim was cheated of $1.72 million.

In a statement on Saturday, police said the men are aged between 24 and 26.

Police had received a report about the case on Thursday from a 34-year-old victim, who said he was duped of over S$1.7 million.

The Straits Times understands that this is the largest amount cheated in a single case of China officials impersonation scam this year.

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The victim had received a call on Tuesday from an unknown man who claimed to be from the Chinese police. He was told that he was implicated in a transnational fraud and asked to surrender all his money for investigations.

On the caller's instructions, the victim handed over S$920,000 in cash to a Chinese man whom he believed was an Interpol officer.

He withdrew another S$800,000 from his bank account on Wednesday and handed the cash to the same man.

Officers from the Commercial Affairs Department conducted investigations and arrested the three men on Friday. Preliminary investigations found that they had received criminal proceeds that were believed to be linked to China officials impersonation scams.

If convicted, the men could each be fined and jailed up to five years.

Almost S$6 million was lost to Chinese officials impersonation scams in the first six months of this year, police statistics released in August showed. Police received 182 reports of such scams.

Police has advised members of the public to take precautions when receiving unsolicited calls to surrender money.

For example, they should ignore such calls and the caller's instructions, the police said.

People who receive such calls should refrain from giving out personal information and bank details, whether on a website or to callers over the phone. They should also talk to a trusted friend or relative before taking any action, and not be pressured by the caller to act impulsively.

Foreign residents receiving the calls from people claiming to be officials from their home country should call their country's embassy or High Commission to verify the claims of the caller, police added.

Those seeking scam-related advice can call the anti-scam helpline at 1800-722-6688 or visit www.scamalert.sg.

THE STRAITS TIMES