After being on the run for five weeks, a couple in the middle of an alleged multi-million-dollar luxury goods scam was caught and charged today.
Singaporean Pi Jiapeng, 26, and Thai national Siriwipa Pansuk, 27, today were slapped with two charges each with conspiracy to commit fraud and another charge with illegally fleeing Singapore last month.
The couple was accused of cheating customers from luxury goods company Tradenation by getting them to pay for luxury watches that went undelivered between May 28 and June 27 of last year. They were also accused of doing the same with luxury handbags from another luxury goods company Tradeluxury between Jan. 15 and June 27 this year.
The undelivered luxury goods were estimated to be worth at least S$20 million (US$14 million).
Pi was arrested in June after the police received at least 180 reports from customers not receiving the products bought from the couple.
Both Pi and Pansuk subsequently surrendered their passports and Pi was released on bail. But they shortly went AWOL and hid in the container compartment of a Malaysia-registered lorry to Malaysia on July 4.
Two Malaysians who helped them flee have been charged.
The Singapore police received intel from the Royal Thai Police on Wednesday that the couple may be staying in a Johor Bahru hotel and brought in help from the Royal Malaysia Police to find them.
The duo was finally arrested yesterday evening at a budget hotel in Skudai and was handed over to the Singapore police at Woodlands Checkpoint after being on the run for five weeks.
During the couple’s appearance via video in court today, Pi admitted that it was “not right” to have fled the country and they did so because of the “death threats and pressure” faced.
He said they were “really very sorry about the trouble” and will cooperate with the police during the investigation.
The couple, who were unrepresented, were not offered bail as requested by the prosecution as they were flight risks and have been remanded for further investigations.
They are expected to return to court next week.
If found guilty of fraud, the couple could face up to 10 years in jail and a fine.
If found guilty of leaving Singapore without presenting a passport, they could face up to six months in jail and a S$1,000 fine.
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