SINGAPORE – Three men worked together to rob a man of $365,000 after duping him into believing that they had bitcoins to sell.
According to court documents, Jaromel Gee Ming Li, 29, and Mohd Abdul Rahman Mohamad, 39, hatched the plan in April 2018.
Prosecutors said that Abdul Rahman later roped in Syed Mokhtar Syed Yusope, who was tasked to rob, intimidate and assault the Malaysian victim.
Mokhtar, a 39-year-old Singaporean, pleaded guilty in a district court on Wednesday (Sept 9) to a robbery charge.
The cases involving the other two Singaporeans are still pending.
Deputy Public Prosecutors Chin Jincheng, Chong Yong and Audrey Choo stated in court documents that Gee was involved in bitcoin brokerage at the time.
Presenting himself as a seller, he would arrange transactions between parties who wished to buy and sell bitcoins.
Gee also engaged Abdul Rahman to help him with the transactions, the court heard.
The prosecutors said that in April 2018, the pair planned to rob prospective buyers without transferring or selling any bitcoins to them.
On April 8, 2018, Malaysian Pang Joon Hau arrived at a Hotel 81 branch in Middle Road as he wanted to buy bitcoins from sellers in Singapore and he had cash totalling $365,000 in his possession.
It was not stated in court documents if he had brought in the cash from Malaysia.
The prosecutors said that Gee later found out about Mr Pang’s intention from a contact and alerted Abdul Rahman, telling him to take along an additional person to commit the robbery.
The DPPs added: “Abdul Rahman contacted Mokhtar and told him of the plan… Mokhtar’s role was to accompany Abdul Rahman to commit robbery… and drive both of them away in Mokhtar’s car after the robbery.
“Mokhtar agreed to meet up with Abdul Rahman at Hotel 81 to execute the plan.”
The court heard that Abdul Rahman and Mokhtar went to the hotel at around 11pm.
The prosecutors said that the pair and a bitcoin broker, Mr Lee Chee Kwok, went to Mr Pang’s room, and Mokhtar asked the Malaysian where the money was.
The DPPs added: “Pang showed the money to Mokhtar, and Mokhtar proceeded to punch Pang once on the left cheek. Lee attempted to intervene, but Mokhtar punched him.”
Abdul Rahman then grabbed a backpack containing the $365,000 before leaving the room with Mokhtar, the court heard.
The DPPs said that Mokhtar received $10,000 as a reward and he deposited $5,000 into his bank account
In an earlier statement, police said that they received a report about the case at around 11.40pm on April 8, 2018.
Mokhtar was arrested at the Woodlands Checkpoint the next day and officers seized a bag containing $5,000 from him.
Court documents did not state if the authorities managed to recover the remaining monies from the trio.
Mokhtar is now out on bail of $30,000 and will be sentenced on Friday.
Offenders convicted of committing robbery between 7pm and 7am can be jailed for up to 14 years and receive at least 12 strokes of the cane.