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Singaporean jailed for assisting foreigner’s S$6M restricted property purchase

Singaporean sentenced to 2+ years in jail for aiding a Chinese PR in acquiring S$6M restricted property. The 2022 case exposed his purchase of 2 houses, intending to hold them in trust for the Chinese businessman.



SINGAPORE: On Tuesday (5 March), Tan Hui Meng (陈辉明), a 57-year-old undischarged bankrupt from Singapore, was sentenced to two years, three months, and three weeks in jail, along with a fine of S$3,000.

This verdict stems from his involvement in assisting a foreigner in acquiring over S$6 million (US$4.5 million) worth of restricted property, which the offences committed in around 2007 and 2008.

The accused was first brought to court in July 2022.

Despite being convicted of eight charges, including offences under the Residential Property Act, Oaths and Declarations Act, Land Titles Act, and Housing and Development Act, Tan is determined to appeal against both his conviction and sentence.

According to Chinese media outlet Lianhe Zaobao, the charges primarily revolve around Tan’s actions in purchasing or facilitating the purchase of three landed homes along East Coast Road.

Subsequently, he made false statements or declarations to various authorities regarding the ownership of these properties.

Tan, acting in his own capacity and as the director of the locally incorporated company Hwampoa, acquired two of the houses.

However, his intention was not personal ownership but to hold them in trust for his associate, Chinese businessman Zhan Guotuan (詹国湍).

Tan also directed Guan Aimei (关瑷梅), another Singaporean co-accused in the case, to procure the third house for Zhan.

The trio of houses involved in this case are classified as restricted residential properties, requiring foreign nationals to obtain permission under the Residential Property Act for ownership.

Zhan, with the intention of acquiring all the houses along East Coast Road, where the three properties are situated, aimed to construct a condominium in their place.

This project aligned with his previous ventures, as stated by the prosecution.

Zhan secured PR through the Economic Development Board’s global investor program

Prosecutors described Zhan as an experienced and affluent businessman, holding shares in approximately 100 organizations in China and involved in the steel industry in Indonesia, Laos, and Thailand.

During the period of the offences in around 2007 and 2008, his annual income amounted to about S$7 million.

Zhan secured permanent residency in Singapore through the Economic Development Board’s global investor program in 2003 or 2004.

He pledged to invest approximately S$1.5 million in Singapore alongside his two brothers.

Tan, at the time a professional auditor, accountant, and corporate secretary, met Zhan in Singapore around 2003.

Zhan, unfamiliar with Singapore’s laws, enlisted Tan’s assistance for his investments.

Subsequently, Tan assisted Zhan in establishing companies and took charge of managing the financial aspects, given Zhan’s primarily overseas presence.

Zhan’s property development ventures: acquisitions, constructions, and sales

Zhan engaged in property development, utilizing his companies to acquire landed properties in Singapore, demolish existing structures, construct small-scale condominiums, and sell the units in new developments.

Tan played a pivotal role in setting up Alphaland and Xin An, the main contractor for these projects, including successful ventures such as Rosyth Residence, Tembeling Court, and Ceylon Residence.

During the trial, Tan asserted that he had personally purchased the three East Coast Road properties, claiming the plan to acquire seven units on East Coast Road was his own initiative.

Deputy Public Prosecutors Foo Shi Hao and Louis Ngia requested a prison sentence ranging from three years and four months to four years and six months for Tan, leaving the fine quantum to the discretion of the court.

They highlighted Tan’s persistent dishonesty in concealing the true identity of the purchaser of the three houses, even during judicial proceedings.

Emphasizing Tan’s repeated violations of Singapore’s land policy, the prosecutors asserted that his motive was driven by a pursuit of “considerable profit.”

Tan, described as Zhan’s associate in the redevelopment business, stood to gain 20% of the estimated profit exceeding S$50 million from the land redevelopment at East Coast Road.

Zhan allegedly funded most of the property purchases, requiring Tan and Guan Aimei as proxies due to his non-Singaporean status.

After Zhan’s nephew and son completed national service and obtained Singaporean citizenship, Guan and the defendant separately “resold” two private residences to Zhan’s relatives in 2012 and 2013.

Zhan’s absconding disclosed in February 2023 hearing

The prosecutors labelled Tan as the primary instigator in the offences, alleging that he manipulated Guan, whom they referred to as a “simpleton,” into signing relevant documents.

Additionally, Tan initiated a civil suit against Guan for S$2.3 million over one of the houses, despite her role as a nominee for Zhan under Tan’s instructions.

Guan had previously been fined S$5,000 for her involvement in the case.

The prosecution deemed Tan’s actions particularly egregious, given that he instructed Guan to purchase the house as a nominee for Zhan.

In a hearing in February last year, the prosecution revealed that Zhan had absconded in 2017 and remained at large.

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Self appointed realtor. Now stay in Changi Hilton.

Does that mean the 3 properties were confiscated because they were bought under fraudulent circumstances even if they were ultimately sold to the sons of the co-conspirator (Zhan) who had absconded?

Under the ECD, you only need to invest $1.5m to get a PR. How ridiculous when Public Housing is already $1million? Under the PAP, many are sleeping on their jobs. It should be revised to $10m investment to get a PR but this scheme should be shut down for the next three years and re- visited after that period as there are just too many PRS in Singapore. It also allows theft of business to our own small and medium sized developers and businesses.It seems like all the PAP’s policies don’t benefit Singaporeans but are geared towards helping foreigners.

Squeaky clean – POFMA lah.

Singapore really hotbeds for scammers, cheats, money launderers, etc.
No wonder USA have listed Singapore as laundering country some years ago right but denied by you know who?