SINGAPORE — Ten people allegedly involved in one of the largest money laundering probes in Singapore were remanded in custody on Wednesday (Aug 23) for another eight days to assist with further investigations.
Two of them sought bail but were denied their applications on the basis that doing so may result in collusion, as there is evidence alleging that the 10 of them were operating in a network, which includes other witnesses.
The 10 individuals, aged between 31 and 44, were charged on Aug 16. They were suspected of being involved in forgery or laundering the proceeds of crime from their alleged overseas organised crime activities — including scams and online gambling.
More than 400 officers were involved in simultaneous raids at several locations islandwide on Aug 15, including residences such as good class bungalows (GCB) and condominiums, the police said.
In total, 105 properties, 50 vehicles and 270 pieces of jewellery, handbags and watches were seized in one of the largest anti-money-laundering operations here.
At the State Courts on Wednesday, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Edwin Soh and DPP Ng Jean Ting sought another eight days of remand for the 10 individuals.
They said that investigations are still at an early stage and their presence would be required to conduct further investigations.
Chen Qingyuan, a 33-year-old Cambodian, is facing one count of money laundering.
DPP Soh said that three luxury cars and one property valued at S$10 million were seized from him by the police.
District Judge Terence Tay rejected Chen’s request to make a phone call to his wife, agreeing with DPP Soh’s point that Chen’s wife has knowledge about his assets, and any contact with her may cause collusion and contamination of evidence.
Chen is represented by Mr Mark Tan and Ms Genesa Tan of Focus Law Asia LLC. His previous lawyer, Ms Denise Teo of Yuen Law LLC, had applied to discharge herself.
Su Wenqiang, a 31-year-old Cambodian, is facing one charge of money laundering.
DPP Soh said that the authorities had seized two luxury cars under his spouse’s name worth S$600,000 from Su and are still determining the source of funds for these vehicles.
Another five mobile phones and two laptops were also seized and are undergoing review. However, Su looked visibly confused upon hearing this and told the court in Mandarin that he has only three phones and no computers.
Su is represented by Mr Nandwani Manoj Prakash of Gabriel Law Corporation.
Lin Baoying, a 43-year-old China national, is facing one count of forgery for the purpose of cheating.
DPP Soh said that the Commercial Affairs Department has seized five properties worth S$72 million, as well as two cars under her name.
The authorities would need more time to ascertain the source of funds for the cars and properties and are also waiting for bank documents from at least five financial institutions, he added.
Lin is represented by Loo Choon Chiaw and Chia Foon Yeow of Loo & Partners LLP.
Su Baolin, a 41-year-old Cambodian, is charged with one count of using a forged document.
DPP Ng said that assets in properties and cars seized from him and his wife were worth in excess of S$130 million.
DPP Ng asked for Su Baolin to be remanded at Changi Prison Complex Medical Centre on the grounds that he has a congenital heart disease.
The man’s lawyer — Mr Sunil Sudheesan from Quahe Woo & Palmer LLC — applied for bail on the basis of his client’s heart condition instead.
District Judge Tay rejected the request, saying that apart from medical reports submitted and a Google article brought up by Mr Sudheesan, there is “nothing to suggest” that Su Baolin would need a specific facility or treatment that the medical centre is not able to provide.
Next was Su Haijin, a 40-year-old from Cyprus who is facing one count of resisting lawful apprehension.
He appeared in court via a video link, with his arm in a cast.
DPP Ng said that Su Haijin had been warded since the day of his arrest, after he sustained an injury while trying to evade arrest.
“He remains under medical care and investigation sessions are limited,” she said.
His lawyers, Mr Julian Tay and Mr Anthony Wong of law firm Lee & Lee, said that he had sustained a fractured heel and wrist.
District Judge Tay ordered Su Haijin to be remanded at Changi Prison Hospital Complex for one week upon his discharge from Changi General Hospital.
At the end of the hearing, Su Haijin told the court that he wanted to tell his family not to worry as he was doing “pretty good inside”.
Wang Dehai, a 34-year-old from Cyprus, faces one count of money laundering.
The court heard that more than S$49 million in property has been seized from Wang and his wife.
Addressing the court through a video link in Mandarin, Wang said: “I’m being illegally detained. I’ve been in Singapore for five years and I’ve not done anything unlawful.”
The other cases were dealt with on Wednesday afternoon, with Zhang Ruijin taking the stand. Zhang, a 44-year-old China national, faces one charge of forgery for the purpose of cheating,
DPP David Koh said that several properties and vehicles under Zhang’s name had been seized and “a large sum of cash” of at least S$14 million was found in the residence Zhang shared with Lin Baoying.
Su Jianfeng, a 35-year-old Vanuatu national, faces one charge of money laundering.
DPP Koh said that multiple vehicles, bank accounts and around S$1.5 million in cash have been seized in relation to Su Jianfeng.
He is represented by lawyer Ravindran Ramasamy of CNPLaw LLC.
DPP Koh also asked for Vang Shuiming, a Turkish, to be remanded in custody. The 42-year-old has been charged with one count of using a forged document.
DPP Koh added that “a number of properties and vehicles” were seized from Vang and there are ongoing checks to find out how these purchases were financed.
However, Vang’s lawyer Wendell Wong from Drew and Napier LLC objected to the prosecution’s call for remand and said that investigations are not in the early stages.
He pointed to a police press release, which stated that the accused persons had been caught after “extensive investigations”.
However, District Judge Tay disagreed and said that given the scope and depth of investigations, Vang should be remanded for another week.
The final accused person to have his case go before the court on Wednesday was Wang Baosen, a 31-year-old China national who faces one charge of money laundering.
DPP Koh said that one vehicle under Wang’s name as well as one property under the name of Wang’s wife were seized. Another S$100,000 in cash was also seized from him.
He is represented by Mr Adrian Wee of Lighthouse Law LLC.
Except for Su Baolin and Su Haijin, who will be remanded at the Changi Prison Complex Medical Centre, the other eight accused persons will be remanded at the Police Cantonment Complex.
All 10 of them will return to court on Aug 30.
Anyone convicted of money laundering under Section 54 of the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes Act of 1992 may be jailed for up to 10 years or fined up to S$500,000, or both.