4 weeks in prison for a man who used a military ID card found on a bus to buy a mobile phone and resell it for a profit

SINGAPORE — Rather than return a misplaced military ID card to its rightful owner, Marcus Chai Chen Kit took the opportunity to buy a cellphone that he sold on for a profit.

On Monday, September 12, the 25-year-old Singaporean was jailed for four weeks after pleading guilty to embezzling a Singapore Armed Forces National Service 11B card.

Chai also pleaded guilty to two other charges related to deceiving an employee of telecommunications company StarHub and making a false statement to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA).

A fourth charge, related to credit card fraud, was considered for sentencing.

Assistant Attorney General (DPP) Kevin Liew said the 11B card hijacking happened in 2017 when Chai was on a bus and discovered the military ID card.

It was not specified where on the bus Chai found the card, or whether the owner of the card was present when Chai took it.

Chai then took the card to a StarHub store on April 17 of the same year, which he used to buy a discounted iPhone after signing a 24-month mobile contract with the telecom operator.

DPP Liew said Chai not only sold the phone for profit, but also failed to pay the monthly bills for the mobile line he subscribed to using 11B.

Chai’s breach came to light when the cardholder tried to sign up for a mobile plan with another telecom company, Singtel, in March 2018, but was told he had outstanding bills with StarHub that he had to pay first.

The amount of debt incurred on the mobile line as a result of Chai’s actions was S$1,265.29, for which he has since repaid StarHub in full.

As for the case involving the ICA, DPP Liew said it took place in June 2019, when Chai was renting a room along Lorong 27 in Geylang.

The court heard that Chai had entered into a three-month rental agreement with his landlord, Mr. Wu Cheng.

When Chai was unable to pay both the deposit and the rent, he was told to leave, but not before Mr. Wu kept Chai’s passport as collateral because there were outstanding payments. pain to perform.

Chai was able to exchange this document with his identity card after telling Mr. Wu that he needed the passport to travel abroad.

After that, he ceased all contact with Mr. Wu until April 2020, when he requested the return of his ID card because he had to cancel a request for a lost ID card he had filed with of the ICA.

When Mr. Wu heard of this, he contacted the authorities to inform them that Chai had filed a false statement that he had lost his ID card.

DPP Liew, who sought a prison term of five to eight weeks, said Chai had also committed other offenses of cheating, embezzlement and trafficking in the past.

Asking for a lighter sentence for his client, defense attorney Wee Hong Shern said Chai committed the offenses when he was much younger.

Additionally, they occurred at a time when Chai was going through an “emotionally tumultuous situation.”

“Marcus did not have the benefit of growing up in a full and functioning family bond,” Mr Wee said as he sought a full four-week prison sentence.

“He had some issues when he was growing up, and he left his mother’s house and stayed in a separate place.”

Mr Wee said that since the breaches took place, Chai has secured paid employment as a recruitment consultant and even got promoted.

According to the lawyer, this indicated that his client had “integrated back into society” and would not commit any further offences.

“He’s a young man who’s really trying to make it on his own, paying his own legal bills and also paying restitution (to StarHub). It all shows…he’s really contrite and eager to move on.

“A period of incarceration could cost him (his) job…and his livelihood, something he deeply cherishes and depends on to support himself and his mother,” Mr Wee said, adding that his client has since returned with his mother.

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