SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/Asia News Network): The couple allegedly involved in a luxury goods scam, related to undelivered items worth S$32 million, will be further remanded in prison for a week as more time is needed for investigations.
Pi Jiapeng, 26, and his Thai wife Pansuk Siriwapa, 27, have both engaged lawyers to represent them.
Bhargavan Sujatha from Gavan Law Practice is acting for Pi, while Johannes Hadi from Eugene Thuraisingam is representing Pansuk.
A prosecutor told the court on Friday (Aug 19) that more time is needed for investigations as the case is complex, involving more than 180 police reports.
He said: "It involves losses of more than $20 million and the investigation officer needs more time to find out the whereabouts of the funds received by the two companies (Tradenation and Trade Luxury)."
The duo were each slapped with three charges on Aug 12 - two for cheating and one charge of leaving Singapore illegally.
They are accused of being involved in a conspiracy to cheat customers of Tradenation and Trade Luxury between January and June.
The pair had allegedly duped victims into believing they would be sold watches and luxury handbags, but had no intention to deliver the items.
Arrest warrants and Interpol red notices were issued against them after more than 180 police reports were lodged against the two companies they were involved in.
Deputy Public Prosecutor David Koh had said on Aug 12 that victims paid more than $20 million but did not receive their goods.
The specific sum involved was not mentioned in court documents.
Pi, who was born in Fujian province in China, was initially arrested by the Singapore Police Force (SPF) on June 27. He had his passport impounded and was released on $15,000 bail the next day.
Pansuk was assisting the police with investigations and surrendered her passport to officers on June 30.
But they became uncontactable and allegedly fled Singapore illegally via the land border on July 4.
Two Malaysian men Mohamed Alias, 40, and Mohamad Fazli Abdul Rahman, 38, were earlier charged in relation to this matter.
Alias and Fazli purportedly helped the couple flee the country by letting them hide in the container compartment of a Malaysia-registered lorry, which then passed through Tuas Checkpoint.
Five weeks later, the Royal Thai Police informed SPF that Pi and Pansuk may have been staying in a Johor Bahru hotel.
The SPF then asked the Royal Malaysia Police to locate them.
They arrested the couple on Aug 11 in JB and handed them over to the SPF that day.
They were refused bail on Aug 12 after a judge agreed with the prosecution that they were flight risks.