SINGAPORE – A man who was kidnapped – and later released – when absconding to Malaysia while he was under police investigations here for scams was convicted in court on Tuesday (Sept 24) of cheating offences.

Police said the 41-year-old man, Goh Chun Kiat, was sentenced to 11 years and six months’ jail for cheating 27 people of $600,000 in timeshare recovery scams.

He was also jailed for drug and immigration offences.

Under investigation for more than 100 cheating offences in 2017, Goh had contacted a Malaysian member of a human trafficking syndicate to escape Singapore. The Malaysian man then arranged for six unidentified men to kidnap Goh after he had entered Johor Baru.

The Malaysian man and the six other kidnappers subsequently extorted $80,000 from Goh’s father.

Court documents did not reveal how Goh was released, but police said he was brought back to Singapore with assistance from the Royal Malaysian Police.

In court for his cheating offences, Goh pleaded guilty to 15 counts of cheating relating to the timeshare scams he committed between 2014 and 2017. In exchange for a fee, he had told 27 owners of timeshare memberships that he or his agents would help them recover money from the termination of their timeshare memberships.

None of the timeshare membership owners recovered their money.

He also pleaded guilty to one charge of consuming a drug, one charge of an immigration offence, and two charges over other offences. Another 123 charges, including using forged documents and possessing counterfeit stamps, were taken into consideration by the judge.

In its statement, the police advised the public to be vigilant when receiving unsolicited calls from companies claiming to help recover money from their timeshare memberships.

It added that the public should not provide any personal information or information on their timeshare membership to the caller. They should also conduct background checks on the caller’s company before engaging its services.