Sunday, June 16, 2024

Indian jailed for trying to flee Singapore using roommate’s passport

A 24-year-old Indian national, out on bail for cheating multiple students in a rental scam, has been sentenced to prison for attempting to flee Singapore by using his roommate’s passport.

Patel Dhavalkumar Chandubhai was sentenced to 14 months and 14 weeks’ jail on Thursday after pleading guilty to five charges, including one under the Passports Act, The Straits Times reported.

The other charges were related to the rental scam.In May 2022, Patel demanded a rental sum of S$500 from each of the four victims, who had come to Singapore to study and were looking for accommodation.He entered into an agreement with each of them to rent a room in the unit he was residing in.

After receiving the amount, Patel left the unit on the pretext that he was travelling to Malaysia for a short trip and became untraceable.

The victims were told by the landlord that Patel had not paid him their monthly rent and that he had been giving excuses to delay the payment. After the victims were asked to leave the unit, they lodged a police complaint against Patel.

Police arrested Patel on May 29 at the Changi Airport while he was attempting to leave Singapore for India.

He surrendered his passport and was released on bail on June 3, with conditions that he was not to travel out of Singapore’s jurisdiction without the leave of the court.

In March, when Patel’s roommate informed him that he wished to purchase a new mobile phone, he asked him to bring along his passport.

Patel then used his roommate’s passport at an automated passport counter at Tuas Checkpoint in an attempt to leave the country on March 20.

However, he was referred to an immigration officer after his facial, iris and fingerprint biometrics did not match that of the actual passport holder.

Immigration officers later found a deleted photo of Patel’s own passport in his mobile phone, and he was arrested, The Straits Times reported.

“The planning and premeditation in the present case goes beyond the pale. (Patel) had laced his scheme with deception. He memorised (his roommate’s) passport details… and produced a copy of (his) student pass. The irresistible inference is that of his careful and detailed preparation in committing the offence,” Deputy Public Prosecutor Louis Ngia said in his submission before the court.

According to Singapore law, using a foreign travel document that is not issued in one’s name for travel or identification may lead to a jail term of up to 10 years, a fine of up to S$10,000, or both.

20230616-081804

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