Man jailed for brazen bus ticket scam

A Singaporean man behind a "meticulously planned" bus pass scam against NZSki was jailed for eight months when he appeared in the Queenstown District Court this week.

Chin Tat Gan, 28, a computing professional, appeared before Judge Kevin Phillips to face a raft of forgery and dishonesty charges.

He was sentenced to jail for one count of forgery, three of dishonestly accessing a Trade Me account, taking or using documents for a pecuniary advantage and 12 charges of using forged documents between June last year and last month.

Gan will be deported immediately on release from jail.

Judge Phillips said the offending was brazen and Gan tested the waters before arriving in New Zealand by posting Trade Me adverts.

He lied to prospective buyers and procured original tickets during a previous ski trip that were used to print forgeries in Singapore.

The gravity of offending was high, he said.

"You earned about $2000, it's impossible to find out exactly what you scored off all of this . . . I think it was considerably more. I do not accept your remorse. I think you look upon yourself as unbeatable. This scam was meticulously planned."

The forger was caught trying to sell fake bus pass tickets with a street value of more than $23,000 and police recovered at least 1100 one-day and 200 multi-ride passes.

He opened a Trade Me account and on June 30 listed forged 10-trip passes for auction with a reserve of $220, then listed more tickets for sale throughout last month.

He placed advertisements on noticeboards at businesses and backpackers and potential buyers were asked to text "James".

On one occasion he made an arrangement for another person to sell tickets on his behalf and that person placed an ad in the Lakes Weekly Bulletin.

On July 30, NZSki spotted an ad, made contact with the advertiser and called police, who also found many cellphone sim cards so Gan could change his phone number.

Lawyer Sonia Vidal said her client was extremely remorseful and ashamed.

The Southland Times