SINGAPORE: A man who tried to deceive the staff at a luxury jewellery store at Marina Bay Sands by exchanging a real diamond ring for a fake one was sentenced to 40 months in jail on Friday (Jan 19).

The value of the real ring is S$318,000. Fortunately, a Tiffany & Co. luxury jewellery store employee stopped Wu Youquan, a 44-year-old Chinese national, from leaving the store. Wu was sentenced after pleading guilty to one charge of cheating, and an additional charge of attempted cheating was taken into consideration.

The Chinese national entered the Tiffany & Co at Basement 1 of the shops at MBS on Nov 20, 2023. He expressed interest in the diamond ring he had previously looked at and examined it in his own hand.

He then distracted the store staff attending to him, causing her to look away. In that short span of time, he swapped the real ring for a fake one and gave a fake ring to the store staff. He then put the real ring in his pocket, unbeknownst to the store staff.

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Photo: Singapore Police Force

However, the store staff almost immediately realised that the texture of the price tag on the fake ring was different from the kind of tags that Tiffany & Co. normally uses. She then told Wu the ring he had given her was not from the store.

When Wu did not respond to her, she called another employee to check on Wu. He then took the real ring from his pocket and asked them to forgive him. The store staff called the police, and Wu was arrested.

The court learned that Wu had been contacted the month before by Chen Hanbo, who wanted to know if he was interested in making “fast cash,” although this involved high risk. Chen said the job meant exchanging a fake diamond ring for a real one.

The two flew to Singapore on Nov 1 and went to the casino at MBS. They visited the Tiffany & Co. store, searching for a ring they could potentially exchange, and flew back to China on Nov 3.

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On Nov 9, Wu returned to Singapore alone. Following Chen’s instructions, he took a photo of the largest diamond ring in the store on the pretext of wanting to buy one for his wife. He also asked the staff attending him for the ring’s particulars.

He then sent a photo of the ring and its price tag to Chen and returned to China. After receiving Chen’s fake ring, Wu returned to Singapore on Nov 20 to attempt the ring swap at Tiffany & Co.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kelly Ng said that Wu’s crime had been “highly premeditated” and asked for at least 42 months’ jail for him, reported CNA.

Wu could have gone to jail for seven years and been given a fine for theft in the dwelling. /TISG

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