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Singapore fines firm, two citizens for exporting sonar system to Myanmar

Singapore court fines company and employees for exporting sonar system to Myanmar in 2018, violating export regulations. Heavy penalties imposed for strategic goods without proper permits.



SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE — A Singapore court handed a company and two of its employees heavy fines on Tuesday for exporting a sonar system to Myanmar in 2018 for use by an arm of its navy.

The pair, who were employed by Singapore-based survey equipment supplier Hydronav at the time, pleaded guilty to exporting strategic goods without a permit.

Wui Ong Chuan, 70, who was then a director of the firm, was fined S$45,000 (US$33,000) while Poiter Agus Kentjana, then a sales manager, was fined S$35,000.

Hydronav was also fined S$1.13 million (US$828,618) by the court for exporting the sonar system and a drone used for surveying to Myanmar.

The exported equipment was a multibeam echo sounder system that Norwegian company Kongsberg’s website says is used for seabed mapping.

Wui and Poiter also admitted to cheating Kongsberg, which sold the equipment to Hydronav.

They had submitted a false document to Kongsberg, leading it to believe that the equipment would be used by an Indonesian company, according to court documents.

Hydronav then sold it to a Myanmar entity, Light of Universe, for US$1.58 million to be used by the Myanmar Navy Hydrographic Centre.

The system was exported to Myanmar in July 2018, and Singaporean authorities raided Hydronav’s offices two years later.

The sale preceded a military coup in Myanmar less than three years later that overthrew the Southeast Asian country’s democratically elected government.

Prosecutors said there was no evidence that the system had been used for military purposes.

Singapore imposes export controls on “strategic goods” including arms, military equipment, and technology with potential military applications.

Anyone found to have exported strategic goods without a permit can be fined up to S$100,000 ($73,300) or three times the value of the goods, jailed for up to two years, or both.


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Only two? What happened to the rest?