Singapore—A 2017 Ms Universe Singapore contestant was sentenced to six weeks in jail on Thursday (Feb 11) for using her friends’ debit and credit cards to spend thousands of dollars without their knowledge.
Ashley Rita Wong Kai Lin, now 27, pleaded guilty to four charges under the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act on Dec 23 last year.
Ms Wong, an e-sportscaster with almost a thousand followers on her Twitch streaming channel, admitted that she had memorised the debit and credit card details of some of her friends and then used these details to buy new clothes and book hotel rooms.
She has no prior convictions.
For her sentencing, other charges under the Act were taking into consideration.
The prosecutor had originally asked that she be jailed for two months, pointing out that over S$2,000 was involved in Wong’s offences committed against three victims.
Her first offence occurred in 2016, after she went out with a 28-year-old man named Mr Andrew Lim, who had been introduced by a mutual friend.
She took his debit card from his wallet while he was in the restroom, memorised the details on his card, and then returned it to the wallet.
Wong later used the card 21 times for online shopping of clothes and tickets.
She then went on to use the debit card information of a female friend, Ms Kimberly Qwee, 26, who found out about a $S264 charge for accommodation at Hotel Clover that she had not booked. She later received a refund.
Wong has since made restitution for the times she used the cards, except in some cases when the payments had already been cancelled and refunded by merchants.
According to her lawyer, Ms Christine Low of law firm Peter Low and Choo, there is only a small degree of premeditation in the former beauty pageant contestant’s case.
“She did not take any additional measures to avoid detection and confessed to her wrongdoing when confronted,” the lawyer said.
Wong admitted her culpability in an Instagram post on Dec 24. “What I did was completely f***ed up. It was the wake-up call that I needed to snap out of the post-breakup pit of depression I was in after being cheated on.”
However, the Deputy Public Prosecutor, Mr Cheng You Duen, asserted that her offences took a degree of planning.
He also pointed out that it took a while for Wong to come clean to her friends, and that some of her friends had not forgiven her.
One friend, he added, had ceased all communication with her.
For every charge of unauthorised access to computer material, a first-time offender could be fined up to S$5,000, or jailed up to two years.
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