By The Straits Times
Singapore – The couple allegedly involved in a luxury goods scam, involving undelivered items worth S$32 million (approximately 821 million baht), have been arrested in Malaysia and are back in Singapore with the Thai police having tipped off their counterparts in Singapore
The Singapore Police Force said Pi Jiapeng, 26, and Thai national Pansuk Siriwipa, 27, returned to Singapore today (August 11) and will face charges of criminal conspiracy to commit cheating and illegal departure from Singapore.
Said the police: “The Singapore Police Force (SPF) has been working closely with various foreign law enforcement agencies to secure the couple’s return to Singapore. A warrant of arrest was issued against the couple on July 16.”
SPF said they received information on Wednesday (August 10) from the Royal Thai police that the couple may be staying at a hotel in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.
Pi and his wife, Siriwipa, were handed over to the SPF today and will be charged in court tomorrow.
At Woodlands Checkpoint today at about 6.15 p.m., Pi and Siriwipa were escorted by SPF officers carrying two black bags, believed to contain the personal belongings of the couple found at the hotel.
ST understands they were alone at the hotel when they were caught.
SPF added: “The Singapore authorities will do whatever is necessary and permissible under Singapore law to pursue and bring to justice those who commit crimes in Singapore, regardless of where they might have fled to. We will also not hesitate to take firm action against fraudsters.”
One victim, Max (not his real name), who paid $280,000 for two Rolex watches and a Patek Philippe watch, said when he heard the news of the arrests, he leapt for joy.
“I practically jumped up and told my wife the good news. I feel so relieved. It is half a burden off my chest. The other half is still weighing on me because I’m wondering if I can get my money back,” said Max, 48, who works in manufacturing.
Another victim, Cheryl (not her real name) paid $23,500 for a Rolex for her brother and was worried her money was as good as gone.
“Now that they are caught, there is hope again. I’m very much looking forward to getting some closure. I really hope all of us – the victims – can get our money back,” she said.
Cheryl added: “We are grateful to the authorities, including the ones overseas, for this. Without their help, we would not have known what to do.”
The authorities said last month the couple had fled Singapore in a container compartment of a lorry on July 4.
The police had earlier said Pi had been arrested on June 27 for his suspected involvement in cheating offences. His passport had been impounded and he was released on bail the next day.
Siriwipa was not arrested then but was assisting with police investigations. She had surrendered her passport on June 30.
The couple then became uncontactable and fled Singapore on July 4.
The police had said last month at least 180 reports have been lodged since June against the couple. Their victims claimed they had made advance payments for luxury watches or luxury bags to the couple, who failed to deliver them.
Top: Thai national Pansuk Siriwipa allegedly involved in the S$32 million luxury goods scam was arrested in Malaysia today, August 11, 2022. Straits Times/ Desmond Fo
Insert: Singaporean Pi Jiapeng being led to a police car today, August 11, 2022 . Photo: Straits Times/ Desmond Fo
Front Page: The arrested couple being driven away in a police car. Photo: Straits Times/ Desmond Fo