Twist in Bukit Batok car explosion: Man injured believed to be convicted online scammer and hirer of missing Nissan

The man who was injured in the car explosion at 290H Bukit Batok Street 24 yesterday (Apr 26) evening is believed to be the same man who devised an online scam to cheat people into transferring money to his bank accounts in 2015.

Stomp understands that the man is Dwight T Soriano. He had conned 34 victims of more than $30,000 in an online scam in 2015 and was jailed for 17 months.  

The car explosion left the 32-year-old man with burns to his chest and limbs, as seen in a video taken by a Stomper.

He was conscious when conveyed to Singapore General Hospital, a police spokesperson said, adding that portable butane gas canisters were also found at the scene.

Alex Soo, the owner of a car rental business, told Stomp in a telephone interview that Dwight had hired a Nissan from him. The Nissan had gone missing since Tuesday (Apr 25).

Alex subsequently posted a photo of his missing Nissan on various Facebook groups and appealed for help to locate it. From the photo he uploaded, the Nissan appears to be the same model as the one that exploded.

Alex also sent Stomp the police report he made at Tampines Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC) yesterday afternoon (Apr 26). In the report, Alex told police officers that Dwight had rented a Nissan Dualis 2.0 to drive for Uber.

Dwight had paid a $400 deposit when he rented the vehicle on Monday (Apr 17) and would make a weekly payment of $420 for a month, the report stated.

It also stated that a man answered Dwight's phone on Tuesday (Apr 25), saying he took back the phone he gave to Dwight and that the 32-year-old owed him $6,800. 

This is the sequence of events, according to Alex.

Apr 17: Dwight rented a Nissan from Alex's car rental business for $420 a week.

Apr 24: After Dwight failed to make his first payment, Alex contacted him at 11pm and Dwight said he would return the Nissan and make payment at 10.30am at Alex's office in Ang Mo Kio the next day.

Apr 25: Dwight didn't turn up at 10.30am. Alex called him at 11am and Dwight said he would be there at 4pm. He didn't show up.

Alex called Dwight again at 11pm at night, and he said that a debtor picked up the phone. According to Alex, the debtor said that Dwight was an ex-convict and added that they would return the car together at 9am the next day.

Apr 26: Alex called Dwight's phone at 9am and the debtor said only Dwight would be coming. At 9.30am, Dwight had not arrived, and Alex said that the debtor told him to make a police report.

At 10am, Alex posted appeals on various Facebook groups appealing to drivers to contact him if they spotted his missing Nissan. He then went to Dwight's registered NRIC address in Tampines, and said that he saw a notice stuck outside the door saying that Dwight had not been living in the house for the last five years. 

Feeling something was amiss, he went to Tampines NPC at around 12pm to file a police report. 

At about 7pm, Alex received pictures from drivers on WhatsApp showing the aftermath of the car explosion at Bukit Batok. The vehicle involved looked similar to his Nissan that went missing. After getting the postal code of the location from one of them, he rushed to the scene. When he arrived at 7.30pm, the carpark had already been cordoned off by the police.