S’PORE SHOCKER: Cop admits taking $35,000 bribe from upskirt-video suspect

A police officer has admitted receiving $35,000 in bribes to help a man avoid being charged with taking upskirt videos.

Staff Sergeant Woo Poh Liang, 29, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to two corruption charges as well as six unrelated charges of buying illegal 4-D lottery tickets, placing bets with a bookmaker on the 2014 World Cup and acting as a runner for a bookmaker.

Woo was an investigation officer at Clementi Police Division when he took bribes from Filipino Angelo Salvador Beltran, 45, in 2014.
He has been suspended from service since January last year.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Norman Yew said that on Sept 10, 2014, Woo took a statement from Beltran who had been caught taking an upskirt video at Jurong East MRT station on May 22.

Although a large number of upskirt videos were found on Beltran’s devices, Woo suggested writing in Beltran’s statement that he had taken just five of them.

Beltran went with the number as he understood that Woo was trying to do something favourable for him.

Six days later, Beltran handed a psychiatric report to Woo, who told him that his case was very serious.

Woo asked Beltran if they could trust each other, and Beltran said “yes”. He then told Beltran that his father was sick with cancer, and asked him for $100,000.

When Beltran said he had only $35,000, Woo asked for all the money that he had and Beltran said he would withdraw it the next day.

Woo then asked for $25,000 to be given to him the next day, in $1,000 bills. Beltran agreed as he knew that, in return, Woo would help him to avoid being charged.

On Sept 17, Beltran withdrew $25,000 and $10,000 from two bank accounts. Beltran handed the $25,000 in an envelope to Woo at a taxi stand, along with a letter requesting the return of his passport.

Later that day, Beltran texted Woo to say that he was required to travel to the United States for training the following week. Woo told him to bring a letter from his company to the police station.

When Beltran arrived, Woo told him that he could not get his passport back.

He took Beltran to an interview room and asked him how much money he had. When Beltran said he had only $10,000 left, Woo asked for the sum as well. Beltran then handed it over and Woo told him he had a “90 to 95 per cent chance of getting a warning”.

But the Attorney-General’s Chambers did not accept a recommendation that Beltran be given a stern warning. Woo told Beltran the next day that he would be charged, but that he would help him to get a lighter sentence.

On Sept 25 the same year, acting on his lawyer’s advice, Beltran complained to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau about Woo’s conduct. Woo’s lawyer Nakoorsha A.K. will give his mitigation plea on Oct 11. The maximum punishment for corruption is a $100,000 fine and five years’ jail on each charge.

–¬†Asiaone

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