SINGAPORE: A tycoon once ranked by Forbes as being among the richest men in China will serve a five-month jail term for using a fake passport to enter Singapore in July last year.
Mick Davies, 57, was convicted last year of a single charge under the Passports Act for using the forged Hong Kong passport to return to Singapore, where he lives. Davies, also known as Lan Shili, is a Singapore citizen.
Davies’ appeal against the jail term was dismissed by the High Court on Wednesday (Nov 1).
His lawyer, Irving Choh, had urged the High Court to lower Davies’ sentence. Mr Choh said the judge who sentenced Davies to five months’ jail had not considered the “unusual circumstances” Davies faced and which left him so desperate to return home that he resorted to illegal means.
The businessman, once the richest man in Hubei province, faced death threats while in China, Mr Choh said. Davies had no intention to leave the country illegally, but there was “suddenly … reason to fear for his life” if he stayed, the lawyer said.
Davies, who was worth US$380 million in 2008, travelled to China on a business trip in February 2016. While there, he was arrested for alleged fraud. Davies was released on bail on Apr 8, 2016 and his passport was impounded.
He stayed in China for the next three months, but eventually decided to return to Singapore. On Jul 9, he entered Vietnam illegally by boat, arriving the next day.
He sought help at the Singapore Embassy in Hanoi to get a replacement travel document but was told he would have to explain how he had entered Vietnam without a travel document.
Unwilling to report to Vietnamese authorities, Davies decided to leave Vietnam the way he had arrived – illegally. He paid 55,000 yuan for a Hong Kong passport bearing the particulars of a person named Fu Ching, and a plane ticket to Singapore on Jul 12.
Davies entered Singapore using the fake passport, but was arrested two weeks later at the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority building.