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S’pore Lawyer Flees To China With Nearly S$114K Of Clients’ Money, Jailed 3 Years

Former Lawyer Misappropriates Nearly S$114,000 Of Money From Clients & Flees To China

A former lawyer in Singapore misappropriated nearly S$114,000 of funds from clients before fleeing to China.

Pleading guilty to one charge of criminal breach of trust as an attorney, he received a three-year jail sentence.

Another two charges were taken into consideration.

Lawyer takes S$114,000 from clients & flees

According to Channel NewsAsia (CNA), Khong Siak Meng David, 55, was the sole proprietor of David Khong & Associates, where he also practised as a lawyer.

Source: Google Maps

In May 2007, a married couple, Mr Loo Yat Fung and Ms Zhang Mengyun, wanted to sell a condominium unit to a buyer for S$2.2 million.

As their conveyancing lawyer, he collected an S$88,000 cheque from the buyer for the purchase in June.

Khong then deposited the cheque into the office’s account instead of their client’s.

He withdrew several funds and transferred money from the office account in the same month. He withdrew a total of S$88,000 to settle personal debts and expenses.

On the day the sale was completed, 14 Aug 2007, Khong did not hand over the S$88,000 to the couple.

He admitted to Mr Loo that he misappropriated the S$88,000 due to personal problems. Giving him S$20,000 in cash, he said he would repay the rest in time.

 

Mr Loo gave Khong three days to do so, stating he would make a police report otherwise.

As he could not get the remaining amount, Khong booked a flight to Shanghai on 18 Aug 2007.

Khong had stayed overseas for over 15 years after fleeing, with an arrest warrant and Interpol Red Notice issued against him.

Was working illegally in Shanghai

On 6 Apr last year, the Jiangsu Public Security Bureau in China told the Singapore Consulate in Shanghai that Khong had received a conviction for his overstay and illegal work in the city, according to The Straits Times (ST).

Chinese authorities deported him to Singapore on 23 Sep 2022, where he was later arrested by the Singapore Police Force (SPF).

Khong has failed to repay his clients S$68,000. In addition, he misappropriated S$26,000 from three other clients, CNA reports.

They were unaware as he was able to repay them by getting the funds from other sources.

Khong had attempted to make restitution by repaying S$20,000, defence lawyer Goh Choon Wah argued.

When he was not given enough time, he “genuinely panicked and left”. Goh said Khong’s actions were not an elaborate scheme and that he was back to “face the music”.

For criminally breaching trust as an attorney, Khong faced a jail term of up to 10 years and a fine.

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Featured image adapted from Singapore Police Force.

Sudeshna Dhar

Sudeshna is a lover of all romcoms, especially Gone Girl (2014).

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