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Cars, crypto, cash derived from illegal online gambling: 9 in S$1b money laundering case get fresh charges

The fresh charges include money laundering in relation to luxury cars, about S$230,000 worth of cryptocurrency and millions in cash, as well as forgery. 

Cars, crypto, cash derived from illegal online gambling: 9 in S$1b money laundering case get fresh charges

About S$1 billion (US$736 million) in assets, including vehicles and luxury goods, have been seized amid an ongoing Singapore Police Force (SPF) probe into money laundering and forgery activities. (Photo: Singapore Police Force)

  • The accused in the case returned to court for further mentions of their cases - they are all remanded and most of them received fresh charges.
  • New charges hint at an online gambling operation based in the Philippines, aimed at Chinese users, which generated thousands in illegal proceeds.

SINGAPORE: Nine people remanded for an ongoing money laundering probe involving 10 suspects, with more than S$1 billion in assets seized or frozen, received more charges on Wednesday (Aug 30) for having millions in cash, cryptocurrency and cars that came from the proceeds of illegal online gambling.

Chen Qingyuan, a 33-year-old Cambodian national, was handed three fresh charges of possessing property representing the benefits of criminal conduct, bringing his total number of charges to four.

The new charges state that Chen had possessions that came from illegal online gambling offences. These include a white Land Rover, a Range Rover, more than S$6 million in cash in Citibank Singapore bank accounts, and 170,284.9808 in Tether cryptocurrency, which is worth about US$170,260 (S$230,273) as of Wednesday.

The prosecutor said more than S$20 million in assets had been seized in relation to Chen, and the extra remand given last week had resulted in the three new money laundering charges.

She asked for another eight days' remand, pointing to the continued risk of collusion and contamination as investigations suggest there may be witnesses and other parties involved.

Defence lawyer Mark Tan asked for bail, saying his client is not a flight risk as his passport has been seized, and that Chen has "strong ties to Singapore", with his wife and three children here.

Mr Tan said his client, prior to his arrest, was an expatriate in Singapore and the chief executive officer of a company providing cloud solutions, with 25 employees.

He said his client wanted to go back to running his company and in charity and volunteer work.

The prosecutor responded that Chen is a foreigner holding multiple passports, with income and real estate overseas.

His risk of absconding is heightened, now that his assets in Singapore have been seized, said the prosecutor.

The judge denied bail and ordered Chen to be remanded for another eight days, as requested by the prosecution. Chen asked to speak to his wife, who was in court, but was denied.


Su Wenqiang, a 31-year-old Cambodian, was given a new charge, bringing his total number of charges to two.

His fresh charge states that he bought a Mercedes Benz AMG C63S around Jan 28, 2022, using S$500,000 that were proceeds from an illegal remote gambling service based in the Philippines for users in China.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Gan Ee Kiat said Su was arrested as part of a police anti-money-laundering operation "of unprecedented size and scope in Singapore".

"The accused is being investigated for money laundering and forgery offences," said Mr Gan. "He has considerable amounts of wealth in Singapore, with a combined value of at least S$2.6 million, including S$2 million in Singapore bank accounts."

"We suspect that such wealth is tainted, and fund-tracing by CAD (Commercial Affairs Department) remains in progress."

Mr Gan said that Su has "significant wealth overseas", apart from his assets in Singapore. For example, he has a house overseas that is worth about S$2 million, registered in his wife's name.

Mr Gan said investigations have unearthed potential links between Su and other people in respect of criminal activities in foreign jurisdictions, comprising his co-accused and individuals who are on the run.

Investigations are revealing "multiple potential leads and investigative factors, which show the increasing scale and developing complexity of this case", said Mr Gan.

Su's lawyer, Mr Manoj Prakash Nandwani, said his client's wife and two young children were in Singapore, with the children enrolled in an international school here.

Based on the charge, the lawyer said it "appears that the prosecution is unsure if the offence even occurred in Singapore, given the tentative language used".

He said his preliminary instructions from his client are that he did not engage in using remote communications in any form of remote gambling in Singapore.

"I am told that, your honour, if there was any remote gambling, that activity has been restricted to overseas, not Singapore," said the lawyer, asking for bail to be granted.

In response, Mr Gan said "this is a money-laundering offence".

"The predicate offence can be offences committed in Singapore or overseas, as long as the requirements in the CDSA (Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act) are satisfied," he said.

He asked for Su to be remanded, so that "CAD can be assisted in the herculean task before them".

Su raised his hand for permission to speak and told the court in Mandarin that he was very "stressed", on the verge of a mental breakdown and suffering from insomnia.

He also asked to be allowed to be granted bail, saying he would agree to any form of monitoring such as electronic tagging.


Su Baolin, a 41-year-old Cambodian national, was handed a second charge of using a forged document as genuine. His fresh charge states that he submitted a "Borrowing Agreement" document to Standard Chartered Bank around December 2020, that was allegedly executed between himself and a person named Se Liang.

His lawyers, Mr Sunil Sudheesan, Ms Diana Ngiam and Ms Joyce Khoo from Quahe Woo & Palmer, continued to press for bail, citing his heart condition.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Ng Jean Ting said properties worth more than S$130 million have been seized from Baolin and his wife.

She said "voluminous documents" are expected to come in from financial institutions, which investigators will need time to review.

Ms Ng said Baolin worked with "an individual outside of the 10 accused persons" to procure a forged document. This indicates that he has links with third parties who may be prepared to assist him in falsifying material, she said.

Mr Sudheesan asked for bail. He said he does not believe that the doctors treating Baolin at Changi Medical Centre (CMC) have liaised with Baolin's personal doctor.

"The accused used to be (given) daily oxygen supply. He has no ready access to this daily oxygen supply in CMC," said the lawyer.

He added that the first charge against his client was for an incident that purportedly occurred in 2021, and that investigations for that offence had already begun back then.

"I'm given to understand that individuals from Citibank have been interviewed in 2021 already," he said. 

If the investigations for the second charge began before 2022, for example, he said, the prosecution would have had adequate time to collate evidence from the banks.

"This is the first time we have seen, for forgery cases, having accused persons denied bail for purported collusion when investigations have started prior," said Mr Sudheesan.

"It's dangerous submission, in my humble opinion, for the prosecution to make, because the courts will be confused as to what to do for future forgery charges."

The lawyer also clarified with the court that his client was not the brother of co-accused Su Haijin, as previously reported by The Straits Times.

On top of this, Baolin was "barely acquaintances" with some of the co-accused, "so we can't bandy about terms like collusion", said Mr Sudheesan.

He said at least 13 statements have been recorded from his client, whose parents, four children and wife are in Singapore.

He told his client, who was remanded and appeared in court via video-link, that his best friend Xiao Ning was in court as well.

Baolin asked to see his family. His lawyer told the court that Baolin had not been allowed to see his wife, as she "may be a person of interest".


Wang Baosen, a 31-year-old Chinese national, was given one charge of possessing a black Toyota Alphard Hybrid Elegance that came from illegal remote gambling offences.

He faces two charges of money laundering so far.

Baosen, who was represented by Mr Adrian Wee from Lighthouse Law, said he borrowed money from a relative to buy the car. He said this was when he was in Singapore serving a 10-day quarantine period due to COVID-19 measures in place.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Gan Ee Kiat said Baosen has considerable amounts of wealth in Singapore alone - at least S$18 million, including S$3 million in Singapore bank accounts.

"We suspect that such wealth is tainted," said Mr Gan. "Investigations have also turned up that his wife has property in Singapore worth S$14 million. His wife also has Singapore and overseas bank accounts."

He added that there are potential links that Baosen has with a person who is on the run, as well as a criminal syndicate based overseas.

"I note he claims that he financed the purchase using a loan from a relative, but of course, this is the accused's version," said Mr Gan. "Investigations indicate that the source of the funds is tainted."

Baosen's lawyer Mr Wee said no evidence has been placed before the court to determine whether further remand would result in "a more expeditious retrieval of information from this accused".

While the prosecution has continuously raised the prospect of collusion, they did not mention why there is such a prospect or who Baosen is prospectively colluding with.

"The fact that there are overseas persons currently evading authorities is not in itself sufficient simply because there are many other cases of this nature where continued detention is not necessary," said Mr Wee.

In response, Mr Gan said new leads by the CAD may mean the arrest of new suspects.

"The fact that we have not identified the person or entity does not mean we don't have the (information)," said Mr Gan, who declined to give further details so that investigations would not be jeopardised.


Lin Baoying, a 43-year-old Chinese national and the only woman in the case, was given two fresh charges - one for making a false document with intent to commit fraud, and another for intentionally perverting the course of justice.

She is accused of forging an agreement dated Jul 21, 2020 for the sale of a property in Macau that she purportedly owned. She allegedly did so with the intention of portraying that she owned the property, had sold the property and received the proceeds, in order to cheat OCBC.

On Jun 8, 2022, she allegedly lied to a police officer that it was her assistant "Xiao Chen" who prepared the agreement.

The prosecution said about S$200 million of assets has been seized from Lin, which is among the highest amount in relation to the 10 accused.

Another S$80 million or more in assets had been seized from her boyfriend and co-accused, Zhang Ruijin, said Ms Ng.

Lin's lawyer, Mr Loo Choon Chiaw, said his client has shown her intention "all along" that she is making Singapore her permanent home.

She is in Singapore on an employment pass and set up a "family office" in 2020, as well as a food and beverage chain named Ban Tian Yao in April 2023.

Mr Loo said Lin has two children, one of them attending a school in Singapore. Since S$200 million of her assets have been seized, flight risk is minimal, said the lawyer, asking for bail.

He said "sweeping statements" had been made regarding the anti-money-laundering operations, one of the largest conducted in Singapore, but echoed other lawyers who said it is on the prosecution to produce credible evidence as to whether an accused person should still be kept in remand.

"Although publicity has been made for an unprecedented money-laundering operation, our client has not been charged with money laundering," said Mr Loo.

He told his client that her sister and son were in court, so "she has a lot of support".

Lin, like the rest of the accused, was ordered to be remanded for another eight days.


Su Haijin, a 40-year-old Cypriot, was the only one of the accused not to receive new charges.

The former director of restaurant operator No Signboard Holdings was still in hospital after fracturing his heels, femur and wrist from jumping off a balcony.

Haijin, who was represented by Mr Julian Tay, Mr Anthony Wong and Mr Dominic Kwok from Lee & Lee, underwent surgery for his fractures on Monday, the court heard.

The prosecution similarly asked for another eight days' remand, citing the need for further investigations.

Assets of about S$160 million have been seized from him and his wife, said the prosecutor.

Additionally, findings in the past week show that there are "ongoing attempts by a third party to dissipate assets" that may have been held by Haijin.

This indicates that he has connections with people abroad, who may be prepared to take steps to affect investigations in Singapore, said the prosecutor.

Haijin's lawyer told the court that he was leaving the bail issue to the court's discretion. However, he stressed that his client did not have new charges.

"My client did not resist arrest," he said. "He fell from the balcony and broke or rather fractured his heels, pelvis and wrist, and he was found in the drain. There was no attempt to physically resist. It was - at most, at best, a case of evading arrest."

He said about S$2.1 million had been seized from his client, along with five cars. The source of such funds can be easily traced, said the lawyer.

"My instructions are to say that my client has no real connection with the rest (of the accused), save that they were arrested on Aug 15. His business is his own. And just to confirm, he is not the brother of Mr Su Baolin," he added.

In response, the prosecutor said the fact that Baolin's hospitalisation has affected the speed and progress of investigations.

Haijin was similarly ordered to be remanded for another eight days.


Wang Dehai, a 34-year-old Cypriot, switched lawyers, with Ms Megan Chia from Tan Rajah & Cheah replacing Mr Wee from Lighthouse Law. 

Dehai was handed a fresh charge of using proceeds from an illegal online gambling service based in the Philippines for customers in China to buy a condominium unit at The Marq for S$23 million in November 2019.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Gan Ee Kiat told the court that Dehai has at least S$43 million in assets in Singapore, including S$18 million in Singapore bank accounts. These are suspected to be "tainted", he said.

Dehai also has "considerable wealth" overseas, including multiple properties worth about S$4 million, from which he derives "significant rental income".

He also has multiple bank accounts in other countries that contain about S$9.68 million. He also appears to own shares in foreign companies valued at S$3.4 million, said Mr Gan.

Investigations have revealed potential links between Dehai and other people in relation to illegal activities in foreign jurisdictions, including people who are on the run, said Mr Gan.

Ms Chia said it appears that the prosecution has taken "all the defendants together in one basket".

She said Dehai's assets have already been frozen, and risks can be eliminated or mitigated with conditions such as e-tagging.

The prosecution said only the assets in Singapore have been frozen, and not those that are overseas.

Ms Chia said one of her client's greatest worries was the welfare of his family. While his wife is a "person of interest" in the case, he wanted to get an assurance that she was okay and that she will take care of their children.

He sought a supervised phone call to his wife, but was told to make an application to his investigating officer.


Su Jianfeng, a 35-year-old man whose nationality was stated as Ni-Vanuatu, was handed three new charges of possessing criminal benefits from illegal remote gambling.

He allegedly held the proceeds in cash, with S$17 million found in three safe deposit boxes making up the fresh charges.

In total, more than S$160 million has been seized from Jianfeng, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Foo Shi Hao.

Jianfeng was represented by Mr Ravindran Ramasamy of CNPLaw.

Mr Foo asked for further remand, saying investigations have linked Jianfeng to a "subject who has left Singapore".

This subject is one of eight who are wanted by the police. About S$300 million in assets linked to this subject and his wife have been seized.

Jianfeng was ordered to be remanded for another eight days.


Zhang Ruijin, a 44-year-old Chinese national and the boyfriend of co-accused Lin Baoying, was given two fresh charges of forgery, similar to his first charge.

The charges relate to forged documents meant to cheat CIMB Bank when the bank asked him for the source of his funds, said Mr Foo.

The police has seized more than S$80 million worth of Zhang's property, said the prosecutor.

Zhang's lawyer, Mr Loo Choon Chiaw, asked for bail. He said his client has been in Singapore since 2011 and is here on an employment pass.

He set up a family office in 2020 and is active in making donations to local charities, spending time with his girlfriend Lin since 2019, said Mr Loo.

"Clearly they have a permanent plan to set up Singapore as their home," he said. 

Mr Loo added that his client has not been charged for any money-laundering offence to date and must be entitled to the presumption of innocence.

He asked the court to let his client know that his elder brother, who is "very concerned and very supportive" was in court.

Zhang was remanded for another eight days.


Vang Shuiming, a 42-year-old Turk, was given four new charges on top of his original charge of using a forged document.

The fresh charges are for possessing criminal benefits from a business of unlicensed moneylending in China. These are amounts of HK$4.8 million (S$827,800) in an RHB Bank Berhad Singapore account, S$391,095 in a UOB Kay Hian account, HK$69,636 in a UOB Singapore bank account, and S$1.18 million in another UOB Singapore account.

The total amounts in the four bank accounts are around S$2.4 million, with a total sum of more than S$200 million seized from Vang.

Mr Foo highlighted the large amount of assets seized, saying that S$2.4 million in an ordinary case is considered a big sum, but this is dwarfed by the other amounts in this case.

Vang is also linked to the wanted subject from whom S$300 million has been seized.

If released, Vang might communicate with the wanted subject, and putting together the S$200 million seized from him along with the S$300 million from the subject and the subject's wife, more than half a billion dollars are at stake, said Mr Foo.

Lawyer Wendell Wong from Drew & Napier opposed the prosecution's request for further remand, but the judge ultimately gave the order for another eight days' remand.

Mr Wong said his client has denied any involvement in any online gambling syndicate.

All 10 accused in the case will return to court next week for further mentions of their cases.

Source: CNA/ll(sn)


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