Feb 1, 2011

Ex-cabby jailed for 'phantom passenger' scam

By Khushwant Singh

THE latest offender to be jailed for involvement in an insurance scam involving fake personal injury accident claims by phantom passengers, is ex-cabby Lim Mui Chin.

The 55-year-old was on Tuesday, jailed two months for falsely declaring that Peter Lim Aik Kee, 51, was the passenger injured in a collision with a car at an Ang Mo Kio car park on May 11, 2008.

This was to support Peter's claim of $7,344 from insurer NTUC Income for injuries sustained in the accident. No money was paid out as the insurance agency learnt from the other driver involved in the accident that the passengers in the taxi were a Malay couple and not a Chinese man.

Police were then called in and Lim admitted to conspiring with Peter and Phang Choon Meng, 38, to cheat NTUC Income. Lim, who pleaded guilty on Jan 18, will start his prison sentence on Monday as he wishes to celebrate Chinese New Year with his family.

Peter was jailed for two months in December 2010 while Phang is expected to be sentenced on Tuesday. At least 13 other phantom passengers have been dealt with. Four were placed on probation for between 15 and 18 months while four others were jailed between two and six months.

The district court heard that Lim met Peter and Phang at a coffee shop in Sin Ming when he brought his taxi to a workshop there for repairs after the accident.

After learning about the mishap, Phang suggested that Peter could stand in as a phantom passenger and submit a false injury claim since no particulars were taken from the real passengers. If the claim was successful, Phang promised to give Peter $1,000.

Pleading for leniency, defence counsel Adrian Wee said Lim was not promised any money and had played a 'very small role' in the conspiracy.