Last Updated on 2022-08-13 , 5:37 pm
Well, a life on the run is more often than not, unsustainable, especially when legal authorities from multiple countries are on your case and seeking you out.
The fugitive couple responsible for scamming about $32 million dollars in luxury good sales to their customers has since been found in JB, and charged today, 12 August, by the state courts.
If you need a recap of what happened, watch this video to the end:
How They Were Found
On August 10, the Singapore Police Force received information from the Royal Thai Police that the fugitive couple, 27-year-old Singaporean Pi Jiapeng and his 27-year-old Thai wife, Pansuk Siriwipa, might be hiding in a hotel in Johor Bahru.
It was not known how the Royal Thai Police came across this information, or whether the couple had been to Thailand prior to that.
With that information, the SPF immediately sought the help of the Royal Malaysia Police to locate them. And alas: they found the couple eventually and arrested them.
Here’s a two-minute summary of how they were found:
They Face 3 Charges Each
Here’s quick refreshment on the crime they committed:
The couple operated two luxury good companies, Tradenation and Tradeluxury, disguising themselves as a dealer of hard-to-procure luxury bags and watches. Their scam involved first building trust in customers by selling legitimate goods such as Rolex watches and Hermes handbags at below-market-rate prices.
Eventually, they failed to deliver goods ordered and ended up cheating hundreds of customers for a total sum of over $20 million from the period of January to June this year.
When their actions caught up to them and arrest warrants were made after more than 180 police reports were lodged against their companies, the couple dipped and fled the country unlawfully by hiding in a lorry’s container compartment headed to Johor Bahru while out on a $15,000 bail.
While the total amount stolen from customers was initially reported to be about $32 million by media outlets, the specific amount is not currently listen in court documents on their case. However, David Koh, the Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) told the court that the total sums across all police reports aggregated to over $20 million.
The couple now faces three charges each—one count of illegal departure from Singapore, and two counts of conspiring to cheat.
The two Malaysian men who assisted them in the escape, Mohamad Fazli Abdul Rahman, 38, and the driver Mohamed Alias, 40, have already been charged with conspiring to help the couple flee Singapore.
No Bail For the Guilty Pair
Well, the couple got what was coming to them, and were eventually denied bail in court.
Both Pi and Pansuk appeared in the State Courts today (12 August) via video conference, with an interpreter reciting the charges to Pansuk in Thai.
In accordance with the prosecution’s view, the judge refused bail for the pair as they were deemed as flight risks.
He also applied for the couple to be remanded at Central Police Division for further investigations, and told District Judge Brenda Tan that more time was needed given the scale of the case.
I mean, can we blame him? This entire saga deserves its own Netflix feature film at this point.
As the duo absconded before initial investigations could be made, more time is also needed to take statements from them.
According to DDP Koh, the offences that they have been charged with are non-bailable as well.
Couple Vows to “Do Their Best To Assist With Investigations”
Well, at least they didn’t put on their acting faces and go “What scam?” when questioned by authorities.
In response to the charges, Pi said it was “not right for us to escape the country without any legal ways.”
He added that the reason for their escaping was because they faced an overwhelming amount of pressure as well as a few death threats from people.
Right…and not because they were trying to get away with the millions they made from a clearly well-thought-out scam that took two years to pull off.
“Me and my wife were facing a lot of death threats and pressure. Of course it’s not an excuse, it is our mistake… We are clearly very sorry for the trouble we brought to the ICA…we will do our best with the SPF and the investigations from now on,” he added.
Pansuk also responded via her interpreter, saying she understood they had done a bad deed, and would cooperate with the police from hereon out.
The couple will be retuning to court on 19 Aug.
Under the Immigration Act, those who illegally leaves Singapore or abets the offence they are charged with from both within or outside our borders can face up to two years in jail and may also be fined for a sum of up to $6,000.
Those guilty of cheating can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined an amount based on the individual offences.
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Featured Image: Instagram (Siriwipa Pansuk)
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