Connect with us


Shanmugam: MHA to table bill to strengthen Singapore’s money laundering enforcement

Minister Shanmugam announces MHA’s plan to introduce a Bill strengthening law enforcement’s anti-money laundering measures. In response to NCMP Leong’s query, he addresses the effectiveness of penalties under the CDSA in deterring money laundering.



SINGAPORE: Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam has affirmed that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will introduce a Bill during an upcoming parliamentary session to amend the Corruption, Drug Trafficking, and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act (CDSA).

This amendment aims to bolster law enforcement agencies’ capabilities in pursuing and prosecuting individuals involved in money laundering offences.

The proposed Bill will additionally grant sectoral regulators access to Suspicious Transaction Reports submitted by the entities they oversee.

This measure aims to enhance the detection of money laundering activities within regulated sectors.

Among the ten Fujian-origin accused in the landmark S$3 billion money laundering case, five individuals have been convicted under the CDSA thus far.

Minister Shanmugam was responding to a Parliament Question filed by Mr Leong Mun Wai, Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) from the Progress Singapore Party (PSP).

Mr Leong asked the Minister whether sentences for offences under the CDSA have sufficiently deterred individuals from engaging in money laundering; and if not, whether the Government will consider strengthening the sentencing regime.

In a written response, Minister Shanmugam explained that under the CDSA, offenders may face imprisonment ranging from three to ten years, fines ranging between S$150,000 and S$500,000, or both, depending on the nature of the money laundering offences.

“This is similar to the penalties for other serious offences, like cheating and forgery. It is also comparable with the sentencing regimes in other jurisdictions such as Japan, Switzerland, New Zealand, Germany and France,” he added.

Shanmugam explains factors likely considered by the courts in the S$3 billion money laundering case

Highlighting that the CDSA has undergone two recent reviews and updates, Mr Shanmugam noted that the legislation outlines a spectrum of penalties.

However, he pointed out that courts determine the appropriate penalties based on case-specific factors, including the amount of money laundered, the duration of the illegal activity, and the extent of abuse of Singapore’s financial system.

Regarding the S$3 billion money laundering case, Mr Shanmugam mentioned that the courts likely took into account factors such as the defendants’ early admission of guilt, which helped conserve public resources by avoiding protracted legal proceedings.

The courts would have also taken into account the agreement by the foreigners involved for most of the seized funds to be forfeited to the state.

Mr Shanmugam noted: “So far, the sentences meted out by the Singapore Courts have been comparable to those in other jurisdictions.

“And, like other foreigners convicted of serious offences in Singapore, these offenders will be deported after serving their sentence and will be banned from re-entering Singapore.”

He emphasized that the threat of imprisonment serves as a significant deterrent against money laundering.

“Asset forfeiture is another crucial tool in our arsenal against white-collar crime, as it deprives criminals of their illicit proceeds, and hence acts as a deterrence to laundering their monies here.

“But the biggest deterrent of all, is the prospect of being caught.”

Mr. Shanmugam highlighted the global challenge of uncovering cases of money laundering.

“There are not many cases as big as the $3 billion money laundering case, which was the result of extensive intelligence probes, and painstaking piecing together of disparate types of information,” he said.

“This is not because there are no such monies being laundered in other jurisdictions. Rather, criminals hide their tracks very carefully. We know this from our foreign law enforcement counterparts as well.”

He underscored that the handling of the S$3 billion money laundering case demonstrates Singapore’s capability to identify suspicious individuals and activities.

“And once we become aware of them, we have the resolve and capabilities to track the criminals down,” he added.

Singaporeans community shocked by wealth amassed by the ten accused in S$3 billion money laundering case

10 Fujian-origin individuals were apprehended in an islandwide police operation in August 2023, following approximately two years of investigative efforts prompted by tipoffs regarding potential illicit activities involving a group of foreign nationals.

Subsequent legal actions led to the imprisonment of five individuals as of last month.

Notably, Su WenqiangSu HaijinWang BaosenSu Baolin, and Zhang Ruijin received jail sentences ranging from 13 to 15 months for their involvement in money laundering activities.

Su Wenqiang, aged 32, was the first individual addressed in the case, receiving a 13-month jail sentence on 2 April after admitting guilt to two counts of money laundering.

Additionally, nine other charges were considered in the sentencing process.

He relinquished assets valued at S$5.9 million to the state, comprising over $2 million in a bank account, more than $600,000 in cash, a Mercedes-Benz car, a Toyota Alphard, more than 200 bottles of alcohol, and luxury items like bags, jewellery, and watches.

Cypriot national Su Haijin, aged 41, was sentenced to 14 months in jail on 4 April after pleading guilty to one count of resisting arrest and two charges of money laundering. An additional 11 charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.

He surrendered assets valued at approximately S$165 million to the state, which included 13 properties estimated at S$91 million, S$45 million in bank accounts, S$2.1 million in cash, S$3.3 million in proceeds from the sale of seven cars, including a Ferrari Spider, and 69 Bearbrick figurines.

Wang Baosen, aged 32, received a 13-month jail term on 16 April after admitting guilt to two counts of money laundering, with an additional six charges considered.

He relinquished approximately S$8 million in assets to the state, including S$4.4 million allocated for a luxury condominium unit, over S$3.2 million in bank accounts, a Toyota Alphard valued at S$284,000, and more than S$112,000 in cash.

Su Baolin, aged 42, was sentenced to 14 months in jail on 29 April. He pleaded guilty to two counts of money laundering and one charge for aiding false representations to the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore, with another 10 charges taken into account for sentencing.

He forfeited approximately S$65 million, or around 90 per cent of his assets, to the state. These assets included over S$30 million in seven properties, more than S$22 million in bank accounts, and jewellery, watches, and bags collectively valued at over S$4 million.

Zhang Ruijin, aged 45, received a 15-month jail term on 30 April after pleading guilty to one count of money laundering and two forgery charges, with five additional charges considered during sentencing.

He surrendered about S$118 million, or approximately 90 per cent of his assets, to the state. These assets comprised S$51 million in properties, S$38.4 million in bank accounts, S$14.6 million in cash, S$6.3 million in vehicles, S$2.2 million in cryptocurrency, a S$4.3 million Patek Philippe watch, and 1,084 bottles of alcohol.

Two convicted deported and prohibited from re-entering Singapore

Su Wenqiang and Wang were deported to Cambodia by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority on Monday (6 May) and are prohibited from re-entering Singapore.

Vang Shuiming (王水明),  also implicated in the S$3 billion money laundering case, is scheduled to enter his guilty pleas on 15 May.

The accused individuals had amassed substantial wealth, not only investing in existing companies but also founding their ventures, fostering diverse networks within the country.

Furthermore, these individuals were involved in local charitable activities and led lavish lifestyles, contributing donations to causes like the President’s Challenge and ComChest.

It was revealed that some of the accused in the S$3 billion money laundering case, are wanted by Chinese authorities for their involvement in various unlawful activities, such as illegal gambling or fraud.

A comparison with Chinese media reports suggests that Chinese authorities have sought some of these suspects for their alleged involvement in criminal activities dating back to 2015.

In 2015,  the Guiyang County Public Security Bureau discovered that Su Jianfeng, along with other individuals, Wang Dehai, Su Wenqiang, Wang Huoqiang, and Su Yongcan were suspects of a major crime, and they were fugitives at that time.

Share this post via:
Continue Reading
Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Strengthening laws to better facilitate confiscation of laundered moneys with increased penalties without taking more stringent measures to guard our “borders” against the influx of “dirty”moneys will not stop anytime soon the flow of these illicit funds into our once Sunny Singapore. Uncle Sam may be watching how the regime manages this world wide money laundering problem .One should not rule out the possibility that uncle may have already taken appropriate measures including covet and under cover, to single out those SG institutions who are guilty of that offence and apply painful penalties similar to what they did in the… Read more »

The earlier news reports seems to give lesser details than the latest one where the amounts laundered by each are more clearly reported than before. Initially, I thought for $3B laundered, only 13mths jail sentence. Nevertheless, SG does not seem to have super severe punishment for money laundering ? Or have I mistaken?

It is uncertain how many billions of dollars have already been laundered before such bills are in placed?

How many more locals jobs losses is needed before a reverse of loose foreigners policies can happen?

Constantly behind time …….

Shanmugam seems to off the target. Another Bobo Shooter.
He has been a minister since Wong Can’t Sing, after The Mas Selamat fiasco.
Now, coming in like that, Naturally A Responsible Person, would look into Money Laundering & Keep A Serious Lookout for Terrorism Financing.
What Happened????
Shanmugam seems to be only interested in lining his pocket by Putting Up Pofma for His PAP Masters.
Too Serious: Got To Go.

And push all the responsibilities to lawyers, property agents and agencies, accountants, banks (but they have tonnes of money to pay few million dollar fines)?

Does immigration agency, MAS do any point access checks as they have all the resources to filter these people out?

Or just let them in with billions of dollars, as long as don’t get caught, everything is fine

PAP is very good at preempting when it is about their survival.
POFMA & FICA created just to go head on with any critic.

They can also change the constitution to make an Indian into a Malay just before elections.
They can do wonders if it concerns their own survival.

But… this..??… “we’ll look into it…”

Shouldn’t MAS and MOF be the ones who need to strengthen currently inadequate governance measures (ie impose more painful penalties on all guilty financial institutions including banks, insurance companies, property agents)to stop the in flow of these dirty moneys” into sunny Singapore.The ensuing move by MHA gives one the impression that they are just” putting the horse before the cart”.Unless their intention is more to ensure that in future they can help confiscated laundered moneys more efficiently at much lower expenses than now.

Quote “But the biggest deterrent of all, is the prospect of being caught.” unquote

Meaning Singapore welcome all money launderers, fugitives, criminals, etc as long as don’t get caught, please continue to live a life of luxury. If get caught, forfeit money and an extremely light sentence them free they go.

No wonder USA have been pointing that Singapore is a “hotspot” for such the of people for so many years

》In a written response, Minister Shanmugam explained that under the CDSA, offenders may face imprisonment ranging from THREE to TEN years, ……etc《

And how many MONTHS were the 1st 4 convicts sentenced?
Don’t know whether to laugh or cry!!!

1CNS (N= numerous).

Someone’s having a laugh here !!!

Strengthen, … would suggests that SillyPore’s money laundering enforcement already had some substance !!!

What did they do, … after 1Mdb ?!!! !!!

Exactly !!! !!! !!!

All this while you boast SG as a banking hub and IT wonderland and only now you’re tightening the laws?
Your boss only goal is to fix opposition and POFMA others.
Aren’t you ashamed to take that salary which you claim prevents corruption but it still happens?

What if it is their own Cronies who money launder or corrupt …

Defend, pretend never hear, purge those accuse then … No?!?