A man flooded the market with more than 66,000 illegally registered SIM cards. He is sentenced to four years’ jail on Thursday (Jul 21).
Tan Kong Chieh, 42, pleaded guilty to 220 counts under the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act. He used the stolen identities of foreign nationals to falsely register 66,445 SIM cards between January 2010 and August 2012.
While Tan is formally charged with 660 counts, he can actually be slap with 66,445 counts. One count for each SIM card. However, if this were the case, Tan’s sentence would clearly have been of staggering amount.
In the interests of avoiding a crushing sentence, the prosecution urged the court to impose a jail term of four to five years. Noting that he has flooded the market with anonymous SIM cards which is popular with illegal moneylenders. Such prepaid and pre-registered SIM cards will not be able to be traced back to the true user.
Tan has been in the business of selling SIM cards to retailers for more than 10 years. This however is not the first time he has been caught for illegally registering them. He was arrested in January 2010 for similar offences, and while out on bail, resumed his unlawful business. Tan was eventually charged in June 2012 and convicted of 1,909 counts of cheating. He continued to commit the offences before serving his sentence from September 2012.
A raid happen in Tan’s home in August 2012, 3,598 SIM cards, 704 copies of passports of foreign nationals and S$189,250 in cash seized. Officers also recovered two devices used to register the cards under false identities.
This paints a picture of an offender who has engaged in a sustained period of criminal conduct. A strong message needs to be send to anyone thinking of illegally registering SIM cards. If you do so, you are effectively registering yourself for a stay in Changi Prison.
DO NOT associate yourself with unlicensed moneylenders in any way. DO NOT help them for any amount of money because it may get you into more trouble than you expected. DO NOT borrow from loan sharks as it can spiral out of control. If you need cash, approach a bank or another option will be a licensed moneylender.
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