News

More seniors fall prey

The number of elderly victims in cheating-related offences has increased over the last three years.

There were 56 reported cases in 2011 and 62 in 2012, the police said. Last year, 72 people aged 65 and above fell prey to con men like Jumahri Suriman.

The trend almost doubled in the first six month of this year - the number stood at 41 for January to June, compared to 26 over the same period last year.

Perhaps serial cheats like Jumahri succeeded because they had "scouted for low-income, poorly-educated elderly victims - most likely to fall prey to his deception", said District Judge Jasvender Kaur.

Jumahri had devised different scams for his other six victims.

To a 66-year-old cleaner in Ang Mo Kio, Jumahri said he could increase her fortnightly pay of $350 by another $50.

In May last year, he had lied to her that he was an employee of the Ang Mo Kio town council and he could get her the month's salary of $800 if she handed him the $350 she had received. And she did.

SYNDICATE

Last November, Madam Goh Kah Keow, 72, lost $401,450 in cash and jewellery to a foreign syndicate.

The syndicate had targeted the elderly using an elaborate ploy, telling victims that they were haunted by evil spirits. To get rid of the bad luck, they would have to take their valuables to a medium for a "cleansing" ritual.

The police want to reach out to vulnerable seniors through a programme called The Silver Watch, launched by Bukit Merah East NPC in 2012.

The aim is to educate senior citizens to guard against crimes such as scams and the other two common offences which the elderly fall victim to - robbery and snatch theft.

A police spokesman told The New Paper in an e-mail: "Ang Mo Kio police division implemented the programme within their jurisdiction last year.

"Moving forward, this programme will be replicated in estates with a high density of senior citizens."