Friday, July 19

Singaporean Authorities Apprehend Ten Foreigners and Seize Assets Worth $735 Million

Singaporean law enforcement officials have detained ten foreign individuals under suspicion of engaging in activities such as forgery and money laundering. The arrests came as part of a comprehensive operation across the nation, resulting in the confiscation of approximately S$1 billion ($735 million) in cash and assets.

In an official statement released on Wednesday, the Singapore Police Force disclosed that eight additional individuals are currently sought by authorities. The operation, which took place on Tuesday, involved the coordinated efforts of over 400 officers who conducted simultaneous raids at various locations.

Among the seized items were two gold bars, over S$23 million ($17 million) in cash, more than 250 luxury bags and timepieces, in excess of 270 jewelry pieces, over 120 electronic devices, and 11 documents linked to virtual assets.

The police revealed that more than 35 bank accounts with a combined estimated balance exceeding S$110 million ($81 million) were frozen as part of the ongoing investigations. This action was taken to prevent potential illicit gains from being utilized.

Moreover, authorities targeted 94 properties and 50 vehicles, with a cumulative estimated value surpassing S$815 million ($599 million).

The arrested individuals, aged between 31 and 44, were apprehended for various charges. Notably, a 40-year-old male Cypriot national attempted to evade capture by jumping from his second-floor balcony. He was ultimately found by law enforcement officers concealed in a drain and subsequently arrested.

If proven guilty, those charged with money laundering offenses could face imprisonment of up to ten years and/or hefty fines. Similarly, individuals convicted of forgery with intent to deceive could also face substantial jail sentences and fines.

David Chew, the Director of the Commercial Affairs Department within the Singapore Police Force, emphasized the country’s unwavering commitment to combat money laundering. He reaffirmed Singapore’s collaboration with international law enforcement agencies and Financial Intelligence Units to safeguard against criminal activities.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) highlighted that the Commercial Affairs Department was alerted to potential illicit activities through suspicious transaction reports submitted by local financial institutions. Ho Hern Shin, Deputy Managing Director (Financial Supervision) at MAS, acknowledged that this incident underscores Singapore’s susceptibility to transactional money laundering and terrorism financing. She emphasized the necessity for regulatory bodies and financial institutions to continue enhancing their defensive measures against these risks.

While Singapore has long been renowned for its low crime rate, the nation experienced a surge in reported crimes in 2021, reaching 847 cases per 100,000 people, a significant increase from the 656 reported in 2020. This upswing is primarily attributed to a rise in commercial crime cases, as violent crime remains a rarity in the country.

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