SINGAPORE: A Chinese national was fined S$5,000 on Tuesday (Jul 9) for bringing cash of more than S$100,000 into Singapore without making a declaration.
Jiang Aijun, 48, arrived at Singapore's Changi Airport on May 12. He had with him S$104,000 and 8,515 yuan (S$1,683).
According to Jiang, he knew he had to make a declaration as he was bringing in more than S$20,000 in cash.
However, he claimed that an air stewardess on his flight told him that he did not need to do so.
Two days after entering Singapore, Jiang was with two other people at a Bank of China ATM at BOC Plaza withdrawing money.
A customer service officer working at the bank noticed numerous transactions at the ATM machine and looked at closed-circuit television footage. It showed Jiang and the people with him withdrawing large quantities of cash from the ATM machine using multiple cards.
The customer service officer informed the police about the matter, and Jiang was arrested at his hotel a day later on May 15.
He was nabbed with the S$104,000 and 8,515 yuan in his possession.
Jiang claimed that the money was for his son's school fees, and to buy an apartment in Singapore.
He pleaded guilty on Tuesday to one charge of moving cash exceeding S$20,000 into Singapore without making a report to an authorised officer.
Defence lawyer Wee Pan Lee asked for "a lenient fine", saying that every dollar went into the shortfall in school fees Jiang had to pay for his children's education.
Mr Wee said his client had health issues, and his father recently had an operation for cancer.
District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim ordered the money seized to be returned to Jiang, telling the defence lawyer: "In future I hope your client knows better than to listen to stewardesses."
Anyone convicted of moving more than S$20,000 into or out of Singapore without declaring it can be jailed for up to three years, fined a maximum S$50,000, or both.