Man Cheated Friend into Sending Him Money to Buy “Discounted” Mercs


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A typical Certificate of Entitlement (COE) for a Mercedes-Benz car can set you back a hefty $100,000.

That’s just for the COE itself, without even factoring in the cost of the car.

But what if we told you there was a deal where you could own both the car and the COE for just S$140,000?

While this might seem like a substantial sum of money, most Singaporeans would pounce on this opportunity faster than their internet speed loads on an Android device.

As appealing as it sounds, this offer doesn’t exist in Singapore. In fact, we are most notably known as the world’s most expensive country for car ownership and purchases.

Unfortunately, a man had recently been deceived into buying a Mercedes-Benz, mistakenly believing he was getting it at a discounted rate.

Cheated into Paying S$140,000 for Mercedes-Benz with COE

A man was deceived into paying more than S$22,000 (US$16,500) to his mechanic friend after being promised a heavily discounted Mercedes-Benz car for S$140,000, which included the Certificate of Entitlement (COE).

The mechanic, Tai Boon Huat, 48, received an eight-month jail sentence on Tuesday (28 November) for a single count of cheating. 

As reported by TODAY, a second charge was considered as part of his guilty plea.

According to court records, Tai formed a friendship with the victim, a 43-year-old man, in early 2019. 

During this time, the victim was exploring real estate investments, and the two formed a close bond, even collaborating on property selections and visits.


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In 2020, Tai informed the victim that his company could purchase Mercedes-Benz cars in bulk through Cycle & Carriage.

He convinced the victim that he could secure a Mercedes-Benz at a significantly reduced rate through parallel importers.

However, this statement was entirely untrue—Tai had no affiliations with Cycle & Carriage, and purchasing a discounted Mercedes-Benz was beyond his capabilities.

Initially, the victim was hesitant about the proposition, but Tai persisted until he finally agreed.

Together, they settled on a price of S$140,000 for a CLA 200 Mercedes-Benz, including COE and associated taxes.

Before jumping to conclusions and labelling this as a blatant scam, it’s important to note that the victim received this offer from a trusted friend, so this incident also caught him off guard.

Once the victim committed to the car purchase, Tai requested him to transfer funds to his bank account to cover additional charges, such as administrative fees. 

The victim complied and made a total of 22 payments, amounting to S$22,487, to Tai between March 2020 and February 2021.

Despite the victim’s payments, the car never came about. 

Frustrated and feeling duped, the victim filed a police report in March 2022, alleging that he had fallen victim to a scam.


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Tai was arrested in May 2023 and has not yet made any compensation to the victim.

The penalties for cheating in such cases can include a jail term of up to ten years, with the possibility of fines.

What is a COE?

In Singapore, a COE is like a permission slip from the government that allows you to own and drive a car for about ten years. 

However, there are only a limited number of these permits, and they can be pretty expensive because people want them. 

The price can change significantly based on what kind of car you want. 

Without a COE, you can’t legally own or drive a car in Singapore. It’s a way the government controls how many vehicles are on the road and deals with traffic.


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