Back in the early days when we couldn’t have our favourite chendol in hawker centres, a big hoo-ha happened.
No, it wasn’t about someone who forgot to smile in a lift.
Instead, a person claimed to “cheat” the authorities of the COVID-19 support grant, and did the unthinkable: he posted his antics online.
Soon, shit hit the fan: the Minister for Social and Family Development, Desmond Lee, knew about it…
…and shortly after that, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam stepped in, saying that they would go hard on people who tried to abuse the system—and they’re not going to stay passive about it. He said, “I’ve told the police: Investigate, and if this is cheating, it carries a heavy jail sentence. I think we have to send that message.”
And all of a sudden, Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee said that the ComCare hotline has already received many calls from those wanting to return their Temporary Relief Fund, a one-time support grant for people who have a drop in income.
Faith in humanity was suddenly restored as more than 500 people returned the money, with some even returning because they think other people need it more.
The issue arose because the authorities were trying to be flexible because asking for 100 pages of documents to get a fast relief fund of $500 isn’t exactly helping.
But as we know, our faith in humanity usually lasted only when we went to Instagram, because today, it’s reported that two men have been charged.
And they didn’t just try to abuse the system once: each of them did it at least twice.
No wonder aliens still refuse to land on Yishun.
2 People Charged for Faking Documents to Get COVID-19 Support Grants
The first person is 29-year-old Chow Jia Chuan. It’s unknown if he’s even working in the first place, but on 20 April 2020, he applied for a Temporary Relief Fund, claiming that he lost his job.
That is untrue.
To qualify for that, one must be a Singaporean above 16 and be able to prove that he or she has lost at least 30% of your income. It’s a one-time (and fast) $500 grant for people to tide over the sudden downfall.
Chow got the $500 support grant.
The next month, on 5 May, Chow applied for another grant—the one that provided $800 a month for three months. For that, it’s for “Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents, aged 16 years and above, who are presently involuntarily unemployed due to retrenchment or contract termination, or presently on involuntary no-pay leave (NPL) for at least three consecutive months, or presently experiencing reduced monthly salary of at least 30% for at least three consecutive months as a result of the economic impact of COVID-19.”
This time, his application was unsuccessful.
By the way, by then, Minister K Shanmugam has already spoken.
But Chow didn’t give up; he tried again on 13 May, telling an MSF employee that he had lost his job.
It’s unknown what happened during the conversation, but on the next day, Chow forged a retrenchment letter and told the MSF employee about his application.
He then did it again on 21 May, still hoping to get the grant.
You’ve got to hand it to his tenacity, though that’s grossly misplaced; he could’ve earned so much more if he put his tenacity to look for a job.
He was given charges of one count of cheating, four counts of attempted cheating and one count of forgery
He’ll be returning to court on 29 July 2020.
If you think this story is outrageous, wait till you read the next one.
Help Others Lah
43-year-old Edward Goh is a tad more creative. Instead of using his name to abuse the system, he used his friend’s name instead.
In this instance, the man tried to get the support grant for his friend called Tan Meng Lan. According to a police statement, he does indeed know this “friend”.
And on 14 May 2020, the exact day that our dear friend Chow fabricated his retrenchment letter, Edward did the same thing, this time a “retrenchment memorandum” instead of a letter.
Reader Bao: Got difference meh?
One is a memorandum. The other is a letter.
Reader Bao: …
In it, he claimed that he worked in Ee Hui Food Catering and was retrenched from the company. Pretty legit if you’d ask me since food catering businesses should be hit very badly during this period.
He was charged with two counts of forgery, and intends to plead guilty.
He, too, will also return to court on 29 July.
Moral of the story?
Don’t take Ah Gong’s kindness for granted.
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