2 Men Steal S$12K From Donation Boxes In Temples Across S’pore, Each Gets 3 Months’ Jail

Two Men From China Visit Multiple Temples In Singapore, Stealing S$11,930

Back in December last year, two men from China travelled to Singapore. During their visit, they patronised several temples around Singapore, ‘fishing’ money out of donation boxes.

Within 22 days, the pair managed to steal S$11,930, reported Shin Min Daily News.

men steal temples

Source: Shin Min Daily News on Facebook

Investigations later revealed that the Chinese nationals had schemed to come to Singapore to steal money from temples. They had even extended their stay to do so.

On Friday (27 Jan), the 33-year-old and 43-year-old were each sentenced to three months’ jail for theft and possession of stolen goods.

Men steal from donation boxes in temples

Chinese nationals Liao Zongrui and Qin Shewan arrived in Singapore on 6 Dec 2022.

According to Shin Min Daily News, the pair planned to steal money from donation boxes in temples islandwide.

Their modus operandi involved using a ‘fishing’ tool they made themselves, which they would later use to ‘fish’ out cash from donation boxes.

The tool resembled a notebook. Each page is an iron sheet tied by a thread, and each metal sheet has double-sided tape.

Liao reportedly learned to make the tool off Douyin videos.

During these stints, the tool would be hidden in a haversack with a hole at the bottom.

Liao would place the bag on the donation box, and within the bag, he will place the individual metal sheets into the slot on the donation box.

Once the money gets stuck on the double-sided tape on the metal sheets, he will lift it, successfully ‘fishing’ the money out.

Caught in the act on CCTV

Liao and Qin planned to stay in Singapore until 20 Dec before returning to China. They later extended their trip till 31 Dec.

During their stay, Liao and Qin visited an average of four temples a day, travelling to each place via public transport.

Each time they did so, Liao would do the ‘fishing’ while Qin kept watch nearby.

Their scheme was finally foiled after 22 days when they were caught in the act on a CCTV camera at a temple in Upper Thomson.

men steal temples

Source: China Press

Finding their behaviour suspicious, a temple employee notified the police about the incident.

The police identified the two men using CCTV footage, reported China Press.

They were arrested on 27 Dec. At the time, they had S$11,930 on them.

Sentenced to three months’ jail

In court, both 33-year-old Liao and 43-year-old Qin were found guilty of one count of theft and another count of possession of stolen goods.

The prosecution asked that they receive a jail sentence of between three and five months’ jail.

He justified this by saying that the pair had deliberately schemed to steal from multiple temples, including making the fishing tool, modifying the backpack, and observing each temple before committing the crime.

The stolen money was also used for their personal expenses, including funding their gambling.

On Friday (27 Jan), Liao and Qin were each sentenced to three months’ jail.

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Featured image adapted from Shin Min Daily News on Facebook and China Press.

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