SINGAPORE: The couple at the center of an alleged multi-million dollar luxury goods scam were charged on Friday August 12, a day after being handed over to Singapore police following their arrest in Malaysia.
Singaporean Pi Jiapeng, 26, and his wife, 27-year-old Thai Siriwipa Pansuk, had been on the run for five weeks.
They each face three counts, including two for conspiracy to cheat.
Pi and Pansuk are accused of deceiving Tradenation customers between May 28, 2021 and June 27 this year into paying for luxury watches they did not intend to deliver.
They are also accused of tricking Tradeluxury customers into buying luxury handbags between January 15 and June 27.
The remaining charge relates to illegal departure from Singapore via Tuas Checkpoint on July 4th.
The couple appeared in district court via video link from remand. Pi was dressed in a green shirt, while Pansuk wore a black dress.
When the judge asked them if they had anything to say, Pi said it was “not right” that they fled the country.
“It’s due to the pressure we’re facing at this time. My wife and I are facing a lot of death threats and pressure,” he said.
“It is our mistake to make this decision and we are truly sorry for the issue.”
He added that they would “do their best” to work with the police in their investigations.
Through a Thai interpreter, Pansuk said, “I know I did something wrong. I will cooperate with the police in the investigation.”
Deputy Attorney General David Koh called the two charges of cheating “indictments”, adding that the investigations were still in their infancy.
Indeed, the couple fled and it took time to investigate the more than 180 police reports made, he said.
The judge granted the prosecution’s request that the two men not be offered bail as they were “proven” flight risks, and be remanded for further investigation.
They will return to court next week. Pi and Pansuk are currently not represented.
At least three scam victims showed up in state court to attend the hearing.
One victim said it was a “relief” that the couple had been charged, but another said it was unclear where their money was. The two men did not want to be identified.