Groups of Women Seen Soliciting Food & Money at MRT Stations
Amidst an uptick in scam cases, sophisticated technologies are increasingly being exploited by scammers, ensnaring unsuspecting individuals more easily.
Yet, a contrasting trend has emerged in Singapore, where scamming techniques appear to have regressed to more direct methods.
A recent development has seen groups of women approaching strangers, boldly requesting food and money.
The most disheartening aspect? Numerous benevolent Singaporeans are acquiescing to these requests.
The Deception Unraveled: Posing as Tourists in Dire Straits
In an interview with Zaobao, Mr Lee, 65 and retired, recounted his encounter with a scam perpetrated by young Chinese women purporting to be tourists.
They loitered near the Bukit Gombak MRT station and appeared to be in their thirties.
“They told me they were visiting Singapore and had to return to their hometown the next day, but they were out of money. They asked if I could buy them a meal and pleaded with me not to see them as beggars,” Mr Lee said.
However, their claim of not being beggars was not exactly wrong; they were, in reality, scammers.
Supposed Tourists Seeking Living Expenses
The ruse became apparent when, after Mr Lee offered to buy them chicken rice at a nearby market, they diverted towards a fast-food outlet they spotted.
Upon Mr Lee’s refusal, they disregarded his wishes and high-handedly demanded two cans of juice, each priced over $5.
The audacity did not stop there.
They subsequently had the gall to request “living expenses” from Mr Lee, who then realised the deceit and promptly distanced himself.
To Mr Lee’s dismay, he witnessed the same women quickly targeting another unsuspecting individual with similar pleas.
This pattern was confirmed by local hawkers, who have observed numerous such solicitations, often exceeding $10.
Those who declined were met with harassment or intimidation.
A History of Deception
Three months prior, near Woodlands MRT station, Mr Lee encountered two women with a similar ruse.
Claiming to be from Xi’an and lacking money for food, they looked pitiable.
Moved by their plight, Mr. Lee did not hesitate to buy them beef noodles with side dishes, amounting to $28.
Yet, as before, their gratitude waned as they requested more food, even some to dapao back for their sisters.
The Boldness of Scammers and Beggars
Given the relative affluence and kindness of Singaporeans, there have been many instances where this generosity has been exploited.
Scammers, like the women mentioned, would feign urgency in their needs, persistently so.
Consider the chronic faker in Tampines, whose “lost Ez-link card” remains perpetually missing, always soliciting funds for a top-up.
Hannah, working at a hawker stall near Bukit Gombak MRT, recalled an episode where the police were nearly called on an overzealous beggar.
While such incidents have been reported, the police response has been limited, leaving residents and business proprietors anxious about the community’s safety and the well-being of altruists like Mr Lee.