Singapore Commercial Crimes Rise as Lottery, Love Scams Gain

Singapore’s commercial crimes rose last year as victims fell prey to lottery and Internet love scams, more counterfeit products were sold and failures to deliver on goods and services increased.

Commercial crimes climbed 2 percent to 3,879, the Singapore police force said in a statement today. The overall number of crimes declined 5.3 percent to 31,404, the police said.

Robbery, housebreaking and murder cases dropped, helping Singapore cut its overall crime rate to the lowest in 20 years even as commercial scams rose, according to the police. The nation has one of the world’s lowest crime rates, according to a 2010 report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes.

People who received phone calls of false lottery wins were cheated of S$6.4 million ($5.1 million), a 68 percent increase from 2010, according to the statement. Those who were befriended on the Internet were conned out of S$2.3 million, more than doubling from S$824,000 a year earlier.

Crimes within the city’s two casino resorts, opened in the first half of 2010, rose 12 percent to 520 cases last year, Hoong Wee Teck, senior assistant police commissioner, said at a briefing in Singapore today.

Convictions for money-laundering climbed to 25 last year from 18 in 2010, Ng Guat Ting, director of public affairs, said at the briefing.

Singapore will consider a “tougher penalty regime” and boost enforcement against money-laundering and terrorist financing, the central bank said in October. The city-state will also tighten laws on tax evasion, it said.

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