They swap $13,000 ring with $4 fake

PHOTO: Lianhe Zaobao

The couple took just 90 minutes to execute their plan.

They cheated a pawnshop by swapping a $12,852 diamond ring with a $4 fake ring.

Mohammad Japar and Tan Li Chen hatched the plan on Sept 23 last year when they were at Ang Mo Kio Hub at about 12.30pm with Tan's three-year-old child.

By about 2pm, Mohammad had walked out of Shing Heng Pawnshop at Block 702, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8, with the expensive ring in hand.

If not for an alert employee at the pawnshop, the switch would have gone unnoticed.

CHEATING

Yesterday, the 41-year-old was sentenced to five years' corrective training for the cheating offence and a string of other offences including theft and voluntarily causing hurt.

District Judge Christopher Goh said he sentenced Mohammad to corrective training as he had offended several times after his arrest on Sept 23 last year.

Tan, who was then in a relationship with Mohammad, was earlier sentenced to two months' jail.

After Tan, 39, bought a fake diamond ring for $4 from a shop in Ang Mo Kio Hub, the pair zeroed in on Shing Heng Pawnshop at about 2pm.

Tan entered the shop with the fake ring in her right hand while Mohammad and the child waited outside.

She selected a similar-looking ring on display to try on. The diamond ring had a price tag of $12,852.

With the ring on her left middle finger, she told the employee serving her that it would not come off.

Instead of allowing the employee to assist her, Tan called Mohammad into the pawnshop to "help" remove the ring. In the meantime, she switched the diamond ring with the fake one.

After Mohammad helped her remove the ring and left the shop, she gave the fake ring and the price tag of the genuine ring to the employee.

In the midst of discussing the price, Tan briefly left the pawnshop to hand the genuine ring to Mohammad, who left to hide the ring at his home.

The pawnshop employee suspected that something was amiss and got the fake ring tested.

The couple were later arrested and the diamond ring was recovered.

Defence lawyer Amarick Gill, who pleaded with the court not to sentence Mohammad to corrective training, said his client was remorseful

zaihan@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on November 25, 2015.
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