Singapore money laundering: Assets frozen exceed $3b
The assets seized in Singapore's largest money laundering case that saw 10 foreigners arrested are now worth more than $3 billion.
The police said on Jan 19 that they have issued prohibition of disposal orders on another 55 properties and 15 vehicles. An additional 189 luxury bags, 34 pieces of jewellery and five luxury watches were also seized.
This now brings the assets confiscated by the authorities to 207 properties, 77 vehicles, more than $1.45 billion in bank accounts, and more than $76 million in cash of various currencies.
Thousands of bottles of liquor and wine, cryptocurrency worth more than $38 million, 68 gold bars, 483 luxury bags, 169 branded watches and 580 pieces of jewellery have also been seized in total.
Separately, warrants of arrest and Interpol Red Notices have been issued against two more suspects – Cambodian nationals Su Yongcan, 33, and Wang Huoqiang, 29 – for money laundering offences.
A Red Notice is a request to law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest a person pending extradition, surrender, or similar legal action.
The police said the pair had left Singapore before arrests related to the case began on Aug 15, 2023.
Prosecutors said in October 2023 that Su Yongcan is the brother-in-law of Wang Dehai, one of the 10 accused. In arguing against bail for Wang Dehai in October, the prosecutor said Su Yongcan and Wang Huoqiang – who is Wang Dehai's cousin – were accomplices who might help him abscond.
The Straits Times reported on Aug 21, 2023, that Su Yongcan and Wang Huoqiang were said to be on the run from the Chinese authorities over illegal gambling activities in 2018.
On Jan 19, the police said Su Yongcan, who previously held a passport issued by the People's Republic of China (PRC), had more than $16 million in cash and other foreign currencies seized from him.
The police also froze his bank accounts with a total balance of more than $145 million. Prohibition of disposal orders for seven properties and 10 vehicles were also issued in relation to Su Yongcan.
In relation to Wang Huoqiang, who also previously held a passport issued by the PRC, the police seized about $188,000 in cash and other foreign currencies. A prohibition of disposal order was issued for one vehicle. His bank accounts, with a total balance of more than $5 million, were also frozen.
Those with information on Su Yongcan or Wang Huoqiang's whereabouts should call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000.
On Aug 15, 2023, the police conducted a massive islandwide blitz led by the Commercial Affairs Department that involved more than 400 officers. Nine men and one woman were arrested and charged the next day with various offences, including money laundering, forgery and resisting arrest.
Minister for Communications and Information and Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo said in a ministerial statement in October 2023 that the raid here was one of the largest anti-money laundering operations in the world.
In 2021, the authorities picked up several signals, including the use of suspected forged documents to support sources of funds in bank accounts here.
Some suspicious transaction reports were filed by financial institutions and other companies, and the police investigated these alerts.
In early 2022, the police launched an extensive intelligence probe that uncovered a web of people believed to be connected to one another, with some of them associated by familial ties.
The police quietly probed further to avoid alerting the suspects, and a decision was made to hold off any enforcement or overt investigative actions.
This was done so the police could develop as full a picture as possible of the suspects and their associates, their suspected criminal activities and their assets, before moving against them.
The 10 accused – Chen Qingyuan, 33; Lin Baoying, 44; Su Baolin, 42; Su Haijin, 40; Su Jianfeng, 35; Su Wenqiang, 31; Vang Shuiming, 43; Wang Baosen, 31; Wang Dehai, 34; and Zhang Ruijin, 45 – have all been denied bail.
Copyright: The Straits Times/Asia News Network