Cabby jailed for role in insurance scam

SINGAPORE - A cabby who was paid $2,000 to allow his taxi to be used in a staged accident for an insurance scam was jailed for six months on Thursday.

Loh Siaw Kum, 55, looked on when an accomplice known as Ah Lam deliberately drove his cab into the rear of a car, causing it to collide with another vehicle ahead of it.

A district court heard that Ah Lam had recruited Loh to help him to fake the pile-up near Mandai Road on Sept 27, 2009.

Ah Lam passed the particulars of the "drivers" and the two cars' registration numbers to Loh and told him to report that the accident happened at 8am on Sept 28 along Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5. The cabby was also to say that he had three passengers on board.

He filed the accident report at the offices of Prime Car Rental and Taxi Services the next day and was directed to send his taxi for repairs at the H.C. Auto workshop in Sin Ming Industrial Estate. The bill for the repairs amounted to $7,100.

The alleged mastermind of the insurance scam was Bernard Teo Shouyuan, 31, who planned to file personal injury and damage claims against the insurer of the taxi for the drivers and passengers involved in the "accident".

However, Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance found one of the claims suspicious.

The police were informed in July 2011 and investigations uncovered Loh's offence.

He pleaded guilty to conspiring to cheat Prime by lodging a false accident report and deceiving the taxi company into paying $7,100 to H.C. Auto for the repairs.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kung Yong Jin told the court that seven other people - including Teo - were believed to been involved. They have been charged but not dealt with. However, the identity of Ah Lam has not been ascertained, he said.

Pleading for a lenient sentence, Loh said that he blamed himself for having trusted Ah Lam's assurances that nobody would find out.

He also said he was supporting two school-going children. He could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined up to $10,000.