SINGAPORE – After finding a credit card in the field, a Ministry of Manpower officer took an urgent half-day leave and used the card to buy a gold ring worth more than $6,000 and spent an additional $20 to top up his ez-link card.
Seah Guo Rong, 36, was sentenced to eight months in prison on Thursday after pleading guilty to two counts of cheating.
The court heard he earned $5,000 a month while working for MOM.
Seah had found the map on the side of a road in Hougang on March 16. After pocketing it, he messaged his supervisor at MOM saying he needed to take an urgent half-day off for the afternoon.
He went to Hougang MRT station around 12:41 p.m. and used the credit card to add $20 to his ez-link transit card.
Seah then drove to the Chinatown MRT station and wandered around the neighborhood looking for jewelry stores. He found a shop selling watches and jewelry at the People’s Park Complex and told a staff member he was looking for a high-purity gold ring.
After trying on a few, he finally decided on a gold ring that cost $6,330 and gave the credit card he found to the store clerk.
Seah then signed the receipt with a fake signature he made up on the spot.
At the same store, he tried to buy a gold bracelet with the same credit card, but the transaction was rejected by the point-of-sale system.
Seah left and threw away the credit card and the gold ring receipt. He then drove to Hougang MRT station and sold the ring for $4,550 at a pawn shop. He deposited the money in his bank account and got rid of the receipt from the sale of the gold ring.
Seah used the money to buy groceries, pay bills and buy Toto tickets.
He also exchanged his ez-link card for a new one.
Assistant Attorney General Keith Jieren Thirumaran said Seah told police he did it to “get rid of the evidence”.
Seeking eight to 10 months in prison, DPP Thirumaran said the offense was committed out of greed. He added that there was a “high degree of premeditation” as Seah took an urgent half-day leave from his job at MOM to commit the crimes.
He also took steps to avoid detection, such as getting rid of the relevant credit card and transaction receipts, DPP Thirumaran added.