Man pleads guilty over role in robbing bitcoin buyer of $365k

Three men worked together to rob a Malaysian 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.

The prosecutors said that Abdul Rahman later roped in Syed Mokhtar Syed Yusope, who was tasked to rob, intimidate and assault the victim.

Mokhtar, a 39-year-old Singaporean, pleaded guilty in a district court yesterday 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.

The prosecutors said that Gee later found out about Mr Pang’s intention from a contact and alerted Abdul Rahman, telling him to get an additional person to commit the robbery.

The DPPs added that Abdul Rahman then contacted Mokhtar. Abdul Rahman and Mokhtar went to the hotel at around 11pm.

The prosecutors said the pair and a bitcoin broker, Mr Lee Chee Kwok, went to Mr Pang’s room, and Mokhtar asked the victim 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. He was arrested at the Woodlands Checkpoint on April 9, 2018 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 out on bail of $30,000 and will be sentenced tomorrow.

Shaffiq Alkhatib

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