SINGAPORE: On Tuesday (5 Sept), prosecutors revealed to the Singapore High Court that the police have seized control of more than S$1.8 billion (approximately US$1.3 billion) in assets as they continue to investigate a historic money laundering case in the city-state.
This update regarding the value of assets, whether seized, frozen, or issued with prohibition of disposal orders, emerged during a hearing in which one of the ten individuals charged in the case requested bail.
The issued order prohibits the sale of these assets under investigation by the police.
Turkish national Vang Shuiming (万/王水明), 42, is currently facing five charges, including one for using a forged document and four for money laundering.
He was one of the ten individuals, consisting of nine men and one woman aged between 31 and 44, apprehended during an islandwide raid conducted by over 400 officers led by the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD). These individuals have different nationalities but share a common origin in Fujian.
Vang, also known as Wang Shuiming, is alleged to have submitted a forged bank statement to Citibank Singapore in March 2021 as part of supporting documentation.
S$2.4 million allegedly linked to illegal Chinese moneylending operation
As reported by the Straits Times, the four money laundering charges are related to approximately S$2.4 million held in four UOB and RHB bank accounts.
These sums are alleged to be the proceeds of a criminal unlicensed moneylending business in China, based on the charges filed against him.
Vang submitted an application to the High Court requesting the revocation of remand orders and seeking bail.
Vang’s lawyer, Wendell Wong, argued that his client’s fundamental liberties of freedom and the right to counsel are being restricted by the remand orders.
Vang also argued for “liberal access” to his client should Vang continue to be remanded.
Connection with Su brothers
Deputy Public Prosecutor Ng Yiwen defended the remand orders for Vang, asserting that they were correctly issued due to the case’s complexity and extensive investigation into serious financial crimes.
The prosecutor unveiled evidence suggesting a close association between Vang and two co-accused individuals: Su Haijin, a Cypriot national, and Su Baolin, a Cambodian national.
Investigations have uncovered communications between Vang and another suspect who is currently wanted by the police and beyond jurisdiction. These communications appear to be related to other illicit activities.
Prosecutor Ng emphasized that there are still extensive investigations pending, including the need to record additional statements and collaborate with foreign authorities.
He pointed out that the charges against Vang only pertain to a small fraction of the accused parties’ total assets, with ongoing efforts to trace the funds.
Furthermore, the prosecutor revealed that both Vang and his brother, Wang Shuiting, are sought by Chinese authorities for their involvement in illegal gambling activities.
The prosecutor expressed genuine concerns that if Vang were released on bail, he and the suspect might collaborate to tamper with evidence, particularly given the substantial assets seized from both individuals.
“Foreign Intelligence” reveals hidden assets: over US$30 Million uncovered
Authorities have seized over S$200 million in assets from Vang, which includes a staggeringS $962,000 in cash discovered at his residence.
The prosecutor further disclosed that Vang had acquired 11 properties.
The total value of assets seized from the suspect amounted to a substantial S$260 million.
Significantly, the prosecutor revealed that foreign intelligence efforts have played a pivotal role in uncovering more than US$30 million (equivalent to S$40.8 million) in assets that were previously undisclosed.
Judge rejects Vang’s bail request, citing no ‘serious injustice'”
After deliberating on the arguments presented, Justice Vincent Hoong dismissed Vang’s plea for release on bail.
The judge emphasized that there were no glaring errors in the district court’s decisions, and there was no substantial evidence of “serious injustice” that warranted overturning the lower court’s orders.
Justice Hoong said: “In my view, based on the details of the pending investigation, and the CAD’s reasons for its assessment that there was a real risk of collusion and contamination of evidence, there was clearly a need for the applicant to be further remanded for a period of eight days.”
Justice Hoong also noted that Vang had been granted access to legal counsel, subject to the operational constraints of the CAD, and there were no obstacles preventing Vang from communicating with the CAD or the prosecution to make specific requests.
Vang’s business ventures in Singapore, granted Cambodian citizenship in 2019
Vang held positions as a director and shareholder at Zhuo Chi Technology Company, a Singapore-based firm primarily involved in software development.
Upon conducting a business records search, it was found that Vang was also listed as the shareholder of Ming Xin (Singapore) Technology, a company that was deregistered in 2021.
Additionally, Vang acquired Cambodian citizenship in March 2019 and currently serves as the chairman of Daming IT Services, a Cambodian company.
Chinese authorities issued a notice in 2023, seeking his cooperation in an investigation into the Heng Bo Bao Wang gambling syndicate, which was uncovered in 2022. Vang is wanted by Chinese authorities in this regard.