Jail, caning for member of trio who robbed bitcoin buyer of $365,000

Another member of a trio who stole more than $350,000 in cash from a prospective bitcoin buyer admitted in court that he was involved in the robbery.

Jaromel Gee Ming Li, 29, was sentenced to three years in jail and 12 strokes of the cane yesterday.

He pleaded guilty to one count of engaging in a conspiracy with Mohd Abdul Rahman Mohamad and Syed Mokhtar Syed Yusope, both 39, to commit robbery in 2018.

Abdul Rahman’s case is still pending while Mokhtar pleaded guilty to a robbery charge on Wednesday.

Court documents stated that Gee was involved in bitcoin brokerage and would arrange transactions between parties intending to buy and sell the digital currency.

He also engaged Abdul Rahman to help him with the transactions, which typically involved prospective buyers bringing large sums of cash in exchange for the bitcoins.

In April 2018, the pair planned to rob potential buyers by not transferring or selling any bitcoins to them.

On April 8 that year, Malaysian Pang Joon Hau was in Singapore to buy bitcoins.

He had cash totalling $365,000 in his possession, and was staying at a branch of the Hotel 81 chain in Middle Road with a bitcoin investor, Mr Teo Chern Wei.

Gee had found out about Mr Pang’s intention from a contact and alerted Abdul Rahman, telling him to take along another person to commit the robbery.

Abdul Rahman roped in Mokhtar, and the two met at the hotel at around 11.40pm the same day.

The pair and a bitcoin broker, Mr Lee Chee Kwok, later met Mr Pang and Mr Teo in the hotel room.

Mokhtar punched Mr Pang and Mr Lee, while Abdul Rahman attacked Mr Teo.

The duo left after Abdul Rahman grabbed a backpack containing the $365,000.

Mokhtar was later rewarded with $10,000 but Gee did not receive any money as Abdul Rahman was arrested two days later.

Gee was arrested on April 18 that year.

Court documents did not state how his involvement in the robbery was discovered.

His jail sentence has been backdated to Feb 7 this year, when he was remanded.

Court records showed that he also faces charges for cheating in unrelated incidents.

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.

Abdul Rahman’s former wife, Yogeshwry Raman, was also in court yesterday, where she pleaded guilty to one count of dishonestly receiving stolen goods from him.

These included $5,000 in cash and items which he obtained in exchange for the stolen money, such as a Rolex watch worth $45,800.

He had passed the items to Yogeshwry, 35, for safekeeping on April 10 near a Marriott hotel in Orchard Road.

Yogeshwry lied to the police after her former husband’s arrest, saying she had not met him or received any items from him.

She also pleaded guilty to using criminal force on a police officer by spitting at him in a separate incident at her residence in 2017.

District Judge Brenda Tan sentenced Yogeshwry to nine weeks in jail and she is expected to surrender on Oct 15 to begin serving her jail term.

For the offence of dishonestly receiving stolen property, she could have been jailed for up to five years and/or fined.

She could also have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined for using criminal force against the police officer.

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