Swindlers preyed on victims' fears

The group of five Chinese nationals came to Singapore to prey on elderly women by exploiting their superstitions.

Their elaborate scam worked on two part-time cleaners, who were cheated of their life savings amounting to $439,000 in cash and jewellery.

Madam Goh Kah Keow, 74, was cheated of $401,450 and Madam Chua Peck Har, 66, of $37,550.

The group, comprising three women and two men, arrived in Singapore from Hong Kong on Nov 18 last year and cheated their elderly victims a few days later.

Two of the five - Li Lianying, 50, and Li Peng, 45 -were jailed yesterday while their three accomplices are believed to have fled.

On Nov 20, Li Lianying had approached Madam Goh at a bus stop near Roxy Square and told her about Li's "daughter who was hospitalised in Taiwan".

At this point, another woman walked past and claimed that she knew a medium. She offered to take them to consult him.

Just as they were about to leave, a third woman showed up and claimed to be the medium's granddaughter.

She told Madam Goh and the two women to remain at the bus stop while she sought her grandfather's advice. When she returned, she told Madam Goh that she was "haunted by vicious spirits".

She promised to help her get rid of the spirits if she brought all her savings and jewellery in a bag for a prayer session.

Unknown to her, the con artists switched bags and escaped with the money and jewellery. They cheated Madam Chua in a similar scam.

This article was first published on June 20, 2014.
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