Probation for teens who sold 'charity' badges

SINGAPORE - Two youths who pretended to be on probation as they engaged in a fake charity drive will have to serve probation for real now.

Brian Sie Eng Fa, 20, and Ho Loong Ann, 19, were on Tuesday given 18 months' probation and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service.

They had come up with a plan late last year to get fast cash by selling badges for $2 each, supposedly on behalf of St Luke's ElderCare, a charity which takes care of the elderly. The fake badges had been bought in Thailand.

On Jan9, Ho forged two donation registration permits purportedly issued by St Luke's and endorsed by the Singapore Police Force. They were under the fake names of "probationers" Alvin Tay and Leslie Teo.

At 8am, the duo started their "collection" from the top floor of a block of flats in Ang Mo Kio Avenue8. However, a resident became suspicious and called the police at 9.20am.

Officers nabbed the two cheats at 10pm, They had with them 14 badges and the two forged permits. By that time, the two youths had cheated residents of $325.

Both pleaded guilty.

Defence counsel Ravinderpal Singh told the court that the duo were first-time offenders who realised they had committed serious offences, and were capable of being rehabilitated.

Their parents also agreed to put up a $5,000 bond for each of them to ensure they abide with the conditions of their probation, which includes staying at home from 10pm to 6am daily. For cheating, each could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined up to $10,000.

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