SINGAPORE: Last Tuesday (15 Aug), the Singapore Police Force (SPF) apprehended ten individuals and confiscated assets, including properties and luxury cars, with an estimated value of approximately S$1 billion (equivalent to US$737 million).
As per the Singapore Police Force (SPF), the individuals were engaged in “international organized criminal operations encompassing frauds and internet-based gambling.
The authorities reported that 35 bank accounts with a total of S$110 million were frozen, and more than S$23 million in cash was seized.
Additionally, they confiscated two gold bars, over 250 luxury bags and watches, and more than 270 other high-value items.
While possessing different nationalities, all ten individuals hail from Fujian, China. Among the 10 individuals charged, three possess Cambodian passports and citizenship. These individuals were identified as Chen Qingyuan (33), Su Baolin (41), and Su Wenqiang (31).
Chen Qingyuan, who holds passports from two other countries, faced money laundering charges.
Authorities seized approximately S$600,000 in cash, foreign currencies, 23 pieces of jewelry, and six luxury watches.
Su Baolin faced charges of using a forged document and was reportedly in possession of another foreign passport.
More than S$777,000 in cash was confiscated, along with valuable items.
His three bank accounts with a total balance exceeding S$2.4 million were frozen by the police.
Su Wenqiang was charged with one count of money laundering and was also found with another passport.
Police froze eight of his bank accounts with a combined balance of over S$10 million.
Additionally, more than $600,000 in cash and 11 pieces of jewelry were seized.
Cambodian National Police spokesman Chhay Kim Khoeun refrained from commenting due to the Singaporean authorities’ investigation.
He mentioned that the Cambodian embassy in Singapore aimed to verify the information and provide consular assistance if Cambodian citizens were involved.
The Cambodian embassy in Singapore informed the Phnom Penh Post that they were cognizant of the situation and had received notification from Singaporean authorities about Cambodian individuals being charged in court.
The arrested three suspects received Cambodian citizenship in 2018 and 2019
Initial investigation by The Post using the Royal Gazette revealed that both Su Baolin and Su Wenqiang obtained Cambodian citizenship through naturalization in 2019, while Chen Qingyuan did so in 2018.
As a result of the government’s endeavors to curtail money laundering activities, Cambodia was delisted from the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) “Gray List” in February.
The FATF is an intergovernmental organization established to formulate strategies against global money laundering and terrorism financing.
Pech Pisey of Transparency International (TI) Cambodia emphasized the potential impact on the country’s reputation.
The case highlights the need for transparent citizenship issuance to prevent criminal misuse.
Cambodia’s Law on Nationality specifies criteria for naturalized citizenship, including good behavior, residency, language proficiency, and cultural integration.
Kin Phea, director of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia emphasized thorough assessments for citizenship applications to ensure legal and moral qualifications.
“Whether they obtained citizenship through naturalisation, or by some other method, when they hold a Cambodian passport, they are Cambodian,” he said, when asked about “foreigners” holding Cambodian citizenship.
He also stressed the importance of preventing illegal citizenship acquisition.
“We must evaluate whether the applicants are qualified, whether they respect Cambodian law and have excellent morality.
We must also examine their reputation and so on.”
He added they must take steps to ensure that it is impossible for anyone to obtain Cambodian citizenship illegally.