Singapore — On Wednesday (Dec 23), a former Ms Universe Singapore contestant pleaded guilty to four charges under the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act.
Twenty-seven-year-old Ashley Rita Wong Kai Lin admitted that she had memorized the debit and credit card details of some of her friends and then used these details to buy items without their knowledge. She has no prior convictions and will be back in court in February.
For her sentencing, 27 other charges under the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act have been taken into consideration.
Ms Wong’s first offence occurred in 2016, after she went out with a 28-year-old man, who had been introduced by a mutual friend, CNA reported.
On one occasion that Ms Wong was with this man, she took his debit card from his wallet while he was in the restroom. She memorised the details on his card and then returned it to the wallet.
Unaware that Ms Wong had done this, the man later noticed that someone had used his card for purchases. He confronted Ms Wong, who admitted that she used the card for shopping online.
CNA states that between August and September of that year, she made over unauthorized purchases online on his card, spending nearly S$200 at a fashion store, more than S$320 on something bought from Lazada, and over S$300 on tickets.
The man was able to dispute with the bank for one of the transactions, and Ms Wong paid him back for the other two purchases.
However, Ms Wong went on to use the debit card information of a 26-year-old female friend. This friend found out that Ms Wong had used her card to make unauthorised purchases when the friend tried to pay for something online and did not have enough money in her debit card.
The friend found out about a $S264 charge for accommodations at Hotel Clover. She also discovered that other people had already confronted Ms Wong about using their credit or debit card details without their knowledge.
Ms Wong admitted to her friend that she had taken her card details. The friend then disputed the hotel charge with her bank and received a refund. The hotel paid the bank back, and Ms Wong in turn paid the hotel.
The prosecutor on Ms Wong’s case has asked that she be jailed for two months, pointing out that over S$2,000 was involved in Ms Wong’s offences that were committed against three victims across 31 charges.
He did note, however, Ms Wong’s guilty plea and her endeavours toward restitution, and that the delays to previous hearings were due to the pandemic and were not her fault.
Ms Wong said to the judge that she has been seeing a psychiatrist for the sake of her mental health, and is not on medication. In her psychiatric report, she said that “in 2016, I was really behaving out of character and it was not something I would normally do at all”. —/TISG