2 Chinese nationals steal nearly S$12,000 from S’pore temples with self-made ‘fishing’ tool seen in Douyin videos

Something fishy.

Matthias Ang | January 31, 2023, 04:16 PM

Two Chinese nationals have been sentenced to three months' jail for stealing S$11,930 from multiple temples across Singapore over a span of 22 days, Shin Min Daily News reported.

Liao Zongrui, 33, and Qin Shewan, 43, (according to Hanyu Pinyin), had arrived in Singapore on Dec. 6, 2022 and had intended to return to China on Dec. 20, but they decided to extend their stay until Dec. 31.

Made their own tool to "fish" money out of the boxes

The intention of their stay was to steal money from the donation boxes of temples.

The pair visited an average of four temples a day and travelled between each place using public transportation.

Shin Min Daily News further reported that Liao had learned how to make the "fishing" tool from Douyin videos.

The tool was shaped like a notebook, with each page being a metal sheet tied by a thread, along with double-sided tape pasted on the surface of each sheet.

The tool was then hidden in a bag that had a hole at the bottom.

Once the bag was placed on the donation box, the tool could be utilised from inside the bag, with each metal sheet inserted into the slot of the donation box.

Once the money inside is stuck to the tape on the sheets, the notes can be "fished" out.

The tool would be operated by Liao while Qin kept watch.

Arrested on Dec. 27

The pair was eventually arrested on Dec. 27, 2022.

According to Malaysian media China Press reported, the staff of Kiew Lee Tong Temple, just off Upper Thomson Road, called the police when they noticed two suspicious-looking men near the donation boxes while checking closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage.

The prosecution noted in its statement that the prior to committing their crime, the pair would check the location of the temple's CCTV and assess the crowd before deciding whether to steal the money.

The prosecution also highlighted that the pair spent the money they had stolen on personal expenses, including for gambling at casinos.

They were sentenced on Jan. 27.

Top collage left photo via Shin Min Daily News, right screenshot via Google Screenshot