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MFA director-general sentenced to 1 week jail for lying about use of diplomatic bag

Gilbert Oh Hin Kwan, a director-general at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), was sentenced to a week in jail for lying about using diplomatic bags to courier luxury watches for a friend. The judge determined his actions warranted imprisonment due to potential harm, including damaging trust in Singapore’s international relationships and causing embarrassment to the MFA.



SINGAPORE: Gilbert Oh Hin Kwan, a director-general at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), was sentenced to a week in jail on Monday (20 May) for lying to the ministry about using diplomatic bags to courier luxury watches for a friend.

The 45-year-old pleaded guilty in April to providing false information to a public servant in 2023.

Two other charges were considered in sentencing: abetting the cheating of MFA over the luxury watches and cheating MFA over a package of Panadol sent through the diplomatic bag service.

The prosecution sought a fine of S$6,000 to S$9,000, while the defence requested a fine of less than S$5,000.

However, District Judge Sharmila Sripathy-Shanaz determined that the level of harm caused or likely to be caused by Mr Oh’s actions warranted imprisonment, as reported by Singapore’s state media CNA.

While acknowledging that “no actual harm has resulted” from Mr Oh’s false statement, the judge emphasized that the court had to consider the potential for harm.

This included the “potential to impinge on trust in Singapore’s international relationships and cause embarrassment to the MFA if there were no redress.”

The judge highlighted that under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, diplomatic bags should only contain diplomatic documents or articles for official use and cannot be opened or detained.

The judge reiterated that the diplomatic bags are a protected means of communication between a state’s foreign missions and consulates.

Mr Oh’s use of the diplomatic bag service to convey luxury watches without disclosing the true owner and recipient of the package was “not just a gross violation of the diplomatic bag service, but impermissible,” she said.

Mr Oh’s defence lawyer, Mr Shashi Nathan of Withers KhattarWong, filed an appeal for his client after the sentence was given.

Mr Oh remains out on bail of S$15,000. The court previously heard that he had offered his resignation to the MFA, but it could not be processed while his case was ongoing.

The penalty for giving false information to a public servant is imprisonment for up to two years, a fine, or both.

Assisting Chinese national female friend to bring luxurious watches from China to Singapore

Mr Oh previously admitted to providing MFA’s deputy secretary for management with false information regarding his request to a colleague to send a package containing luxury watches through the diplomatic bag service in January 2023.

He agreed to help a Chinese national female friend, Ms Jiang Si, bring her watches from China to Singapore.

On 12 January 2023, Mr Oh asked a colleague at Singapore’s embassy in Beijing to send the package through the diplomatic bag.

Mr Oh falsely told his MFA colleague that the package was from his friend’s parents, whom he claimed was a Chinese diplomat, to increase the likelihood of compliance with his request.

Ms Jiang’s parent was not a diplomat; Mr Oh misrepresented her status to persuade his colleague, Dion Loke Cheng Wang.

A sealed package containing 21 luxury watches, a ring, and about seven children’s books was sent to Oh’s colleague’s address in Beijing.

Due to the suspension of the diplomatic bag service at the time, the colleague carried the package in his luggage on a flight from China to Singapore on 17 January last year.

At Changi Airport, ICA officers screened the luggage and opened the sealed package containing the watches.

Mr Oh was charged for abusing diplomatic bags in Nov last year

The incident was reported to the police, and MFA was informed. CPIB also initiated an investigation.

On the morning of 19 Jan, Ong Eng Chuan, MFA’s then-deputy secretary for management instructed Oh to provide a written account of how the package was brought into Singapore.

Fearing disciplinary action that could affect his career, Oh decided to lie, claiming the watches belonged to his father, hoping for leniency.

He communicated this false account to MFA in an email on 19 Jan 2023 and repeated it in a statement to CPIB on 20 Jan 2023.

The lie was uncovered when Oh later admitted to CPIB that a friend, not his father, had asked him to transport the luxury watches.

Judge Sripathy-Shanaz rejected the argument by both defence and prosecution that Mr Oh’s lie only concealed the “true ownership” of the package, stating it sought to cast the incident in “a vastly different light.”

She noted that Mr Oh lied to prevent the deputy secretary from probing further into the incident.

The judge stated that his falsehood involved “misleadingly recasting the predicate act as an innocuous instance of helping his father transport personal items, when he was actually doing so at the behest of a third-party foreign national who, as the defence itself accepted, ‘wanted to avoid the hassle of too many explanations’ and sought to ‘avoid’ scrutiny from the authorities.”

The judge emphasized the importance of internal investigations by public institutions for maintaining transparency, accountability, and public trust.

“The potential harm to the public interest is all the more pronounced, real and significant, when a high-ranking public servant such as Mr Oh, seeks to subvert the internal investigations of the public institution he serves. Such a breach requires a strong response.”

The judge found it “particularly aggravating” that Oh took “active steps to bolster the deception” by informing his father of the lie he intended to tell, aiming for his father to corroborate his story if needed.

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I think the sentencing is too harsh. Just a fine will do. C’mon everyone does tell a white lie once in a while. It’s harmless.

Probably just the tip of an iceberg (aka very common in MFA, like MOM making babies in small spaces), this guy just suay that “…the suspension of the diplomatic bag service…” happened at that time.

What is a “director-general”..??
Where does that sit in the hierarchy..?
How far down or up from “ambassador”..?

What is a ‘diplomatic” bag..??
Why was ICA suspicious..?

Honey- Trapped, Now 1 week in Hotel.

Why is he not charged with abetting to smuggle luxury watches by illegal use of the diplomatic bag?

How much GST was evaded in these watches being imported this way?

1CNS (N=numerous)!!!

Why MFA and the judge so eager to believe he is helping his chinese “friend” carry her watches, and never considered the watches were “gifts” for him being a “friend” to a foreign power?

Cannot say whether Gilbert Oh did for Ah Tiong bu was stupid of not ,until see what Ms Jiang Si look like!😆😆
Stupid fuxktard Sinkie lost his over $500k job per yr over an ah Tiong bu.
Now can be a Orh Kui Toa at Geyland for all those higher Cat ah Tiong bu, maybe even can earn more!😆😆😆

King of lies who has a big bag of lies to bring to grave still got the support of loyal supporters and walking freely. Life is so unfair hor, if I am this poor guy I will ask why.

If NOT, just deprive others of resources and their rank will drop like nobody biz while others get a pass. No such manipulative system to rank all the people … As if commoners cannot see

No need wat … Like you ppl just find the critical Race entities and place them above him … Then he is lower in rank liao. No?!?

Like Low thia kiang just find another low to overlord the bench mark then they higher up in the rank. No?!?

After release new position awaiting him in G sector. No problem.

Knn for lying got charged and jail. If he is some clown from oppo camp you folks will say is political motivated fix, definitely. Let’s be fair when comment.

At least he will knows where he will be getting his “three meals” for that week. I can’t say the same about many Singaporeans still struggling to cope with rising prices.

But what does Mr Termite mound, hole in the floor, Colonial Bungalow have to say about the current situation of the MFA under his watch? Or is he still too busy enjoying his “three meals?”

Last edited 1 month ago by Blankslate

If ordinary resident here lied to civil servant, how long will the jail term be? 1 week is just too short just like those Fujian gang multi billions laundering only 1 yr plus in jail

His pay must be damn bloody low, even Shan gave all of them hefty multiple months bonuses for many many years dwarfing many others. Why do PAP Administration reward civil servants to serve SG, Govt Services employees also to service all Singaporeans with huge pay and bonuses – productivity?

Looks like higher pay endorsed and given by PAP Administration is OBVIOUSLY a very ENTICING SCHEME to BUY ENORMOUS loyalty to PAP and GE votes to Keep PAP in Manipulative Power, as this small crime speaks for itself clearly.

Dunno wat to say anymo!

Why’s our government filled with all these cheapo siah suay people? Try to avoid import tax. Another commit pedophilia filming boys in Japan’s onsen ??

Ministry of for learn affairs

Whose the ministar .