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Singapore’s MFA Director-General charged for sending Panadol and luxury watches via diplomatic bags

A director-general at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs faced charges for abusing diplomatic bags.

Allegedly, he concealed the true contents of a Panadol shipment to Beijing and encouraged a colleague to send luxury watches from China to Singapore through diplomatic channels.

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SINGAPORE: Gilbert Oh Hin Kwan, a director-general at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), faced legal charges on Thursday (23 Nov) concerning the use of diplomatic bags to send items not compliant with regulations.

The 44-year-old is accused of two counts of cheating and one count of providing false information to a public servant.

In December of the previous year, Oh allegedly utilized the diplomatic bag service to send boxes of Panadol – containing paracetamol – from Singapore to Beijing.

Allegedly, he concealed from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) that the package was intended for a personal acquaintance instead of his MFA colleague, Dion Loke Cheng Wang, stationed in Beijing.

According to MFA’s website, Mr Loke is the First Secretary (Political) at Singapore’s Embassy in Beijing.

The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) stated that MFA was influenced to accept the package for diplomatic bag service based on this misrepresented information, a course of action they would not have taken had they been aware of the truth.

As per the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, diplomatic bags serve the purpose of transporting official documents or items.

The convention strictly prohibits the opening or detention of diplomatic bags, mandating that these bags must visibly display external marks confirming their diplomatic character.

In December 2022, there was a notable surge in demand for flu and cough medicine in China.

This increase coincided with the escalating COVID-19 cases in China and reports of shortages in essential medications. Chinese nationals in Singapore queued up to send flu medicine back to their relatives in China.

Consequently, this contributed to an escalated local demand for over-the-counter medicine to alleviate symptoms of fever, cough, and cold within Singapore.

Dispatch of luxury watches via diplomatic bag service

Oh faces allegations of allegedly encouraging Mr Loke on 12 Jan to dispatch a package containing luxury watches from China to Singapore via the diplomatic bag service.

It is claimed that Oh failed to disclose that the package belonged to and was intended for someone else, as stated by CPIB.

On 19 January, he reportedly provided misleading information to MFA Deputy Secretary Ong Eng Chuan regarding the package of luxury watches brought into Singapore by Mr Loke on 17 Jan.

Oh asserted that the watches belonged to his father.

During the court hearing on Thursday, Mr Oh’s legal counsel stated the necessity to gather additional documents, citing the sensitivity of the matter.

He petitioned for his client’s presence to be waived for forthcoming hearings, seeking representation solely by his lawyer, a request that was approved.

If found guilty of cheating, he could face imprisonment for up to three years, a fine, or both.

Additionally, a conviction for lying to a public servant may result in a potential sentence of up to two years imprisonment, a fine, or both.

Oh’s case will be heard again on 21 December.

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I believed the action by the senior civil servant at the foreign affairs ministry is a blow to the the ministry n definitely action need to be taken.

Put it this way lah, what Gilbert Oh Hin Kwan did in exploiting the loop holes in the diplomatic service is nothing compared to WAHT HIS BOSS VIVIAN WAS DOING, EXPLOITING THE LOOP HOLES in the renting of those B&W Bungalows, when Vivian found the lack of interest from the general public in renting these premises and becos as such, these bungalows were offered at BELOW MARKET RENTAL RATE. NOT ONLY SO, BEING A MINISTER HE EVEN EXPLOITED using the clout he had, as a minister to have these premises REFURBURISHED USING TAX PAYERS EXPEENSE FOR HIS OWN ENJOYMENT. In… Read more »

Despite being paid over $400k per yr not including bonuses ,I guess Gilbert Oh Hin Kwan still feels he is ‘under paid’ and had to resort to using ‘diplomatic tricks’ up his sleeves to do his monkeys business.

Hey, Lawrence you taking over soon ,right?
YOU HAVE HELLVA LOT OF SUCH MONKEYS INSIDE YOUR CIVIL SERVICE AND STILL DOING THEIR MONKEY BUSINESS AND STILL THINK THEY ARE BEYOND THE LAW…
GUESS IF THE ‘MULTI ROLE ‘ PINEAPPLE PRESIDENT AIN’T DOING HIS JOB …IT WILL BE UP TO YOU, LAWRENCE TO DO IT OR WILL YOU?😆😆😆🤣🤣😆😆😆😆

Go Jump Down

Too many PIGS

This one was fast but what about Iswaran? He is collecting MP’s pay since July and also $8500/ Minister’s pay. Why is this case left dangling for so long? Our civil service is going to the dogs under CCS.

LHL once said “上梁不正,下梁歪。”. When the top does not set a good example and be strict to themselves as well as to all kakis, the rest of the organisation goes “no government”. The leeder must send a strong signal to everyone in Singapore, e.g. sending this man to a 10-year imprisonment, even better if include caning, as a deterrence. Any wrongdoing public servant must be punished at least 5 times heavier than a commoner. We must get back the iron fist to govern this little country. Other countries can go soft due to their sizes, but Singapore is small, that… Read more »

I believed that the civil servant’s salary should b quite high in the first place.

Based on his heavyweight title, he should be already made countless millions dollars in salaries, compensations and perks.

Still not enough want to cheat more? I know, greed have no boundaries, more rich, more thirsty for bigger money

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