1st S’pore billion-dollar money laundering case suspect sentenced to 13 months’ jail

1st suspect in money laundering case sentenced after pleading guilty

On Tuesday (2 April), Cambodian national Su Wenqiang, 32, was sentenced for his involvement in a money laundering operation which saw authorities in Singapore seize assets worth more than S$3 billion.

He is the first to be convicted in the billion-dollar money laundering case thus far, receiving a 13-month jail sentence.

The judge took into consideration nine other charges during sentencing.

1st suspect sentenced in money laundering case

Channel NewsAsia (CNA) reports that Su pleaded guilty to 11 counts of money laundering, possessing S$601,706 from illegal remote gambling offences and lying to obtain work passes for his wife and himself.

Source: Nurjannah Suhaimi for TODAY

He was among 10 suspects the authorities arrested in Aug 2023. Su’s arrest occurred at a Good Class Bungalow along Lewis Road in Bukit Timah.

There, officers seized more than S$5.9 million worth of cash, vehicles, luxury items and liquor. Su has since forfeited this amount to the state.

Court documents state that Su started online gambling while in Manila in 2019. He then became involved in a gambling operation that provided remote gambling services to people living in China, among other things.

The operation, based in Philippines, consisted of a website that people in China used to place bets with their phone.

Su would manage the staff who handled the website. He also oversaw the acceptance of bets via remote communication.

For his role, he received a share of the criminal proceeds that the business generated.

Proceeds found in police raid in 2023

In 2021, Su moved to Singapore after his wife indicated a desire to have their children study in the country, The Straits Times (ST) reported.

During his time here, Su continued his involvement in the illegal gambling operation, frequently travelling to the Philippines for it.

In June 2023, he contacted a person, which the court identified as B, who managed the finances of the business. Su asked B for his share of the proceeds, travelling to their home later that month with two pieces of luggage.

B went on to give him S$1 million in cash, which Su took to Singapore and deposited in a safe at the house he was renting.

A police raid in 2023 uncovered S$601,706 in the safe, representing benefits from criminal proceeds according to the prosecution.

The deputy public prosecutor (DPP) noted that it is illegal in China to provide its people with an online gambling service.

Pleaded guilty to using illegal proceeds on Mercedes Benz

Su pleaded guilty to withdrawing S$500,000 in illegal proceeds from his bank account on 28 Jan 2022 to spend on a Mercedes Benz AMG C63S.

Before the purchase, in Sep 2021, his bank account received a transfer of an amount close to S$5 million. This sum constituted a share of the proceeds from the revenue of the illegal gambling operation.

The remaining nine charges considered for the sentencing were for the following offences:

  • Laundering about S$477,000 in illegal proceeds from the gambling business. He did so to purchase luxury bags, jewellery, liquor and rent luxury houses and condominium units.
  • Lying in an employment pass application in Feb 2022 that he would be working as a sales director for Fleur Business Service.
  • Conspiring with another person to procure a work pass for his wife, Su Yanping.
  • Having a forged marriage certificate falsely state that his marriage with Su Yanping was registered in May 2018.

Seeking 12 to 15 months’ jail for Su, the prosecution said these activities will affect Singapore’s reputation as a legitimate financial hub.

Therefore, he should receive a suitable sentence to deter others from similar acts.

The prosecution also acknowledged Su’s willingness to forfeit his assets worth more than $5.9 million to the state and his early plea of guilt.

While sentencing him, Senior District Judge Ong Hian Sun agreed that the dominant consideration in the case should be the general deterrence against money laundering.

41-year-old Cypriot national Su Haijin and 32-year-old Chinese national Wang Baosen are the next suspects likely to plead guilty on 4 and 16 April respectively.

Also read: 10 Foreigners Arrested For Alleged Money Laundering Activities, S’pore Police Seize S$1B Worth Of Assets

10 Foreigners Arrested For Alleged Money Laundering Activities, S’pore Police Seize S$1B Worth Of Assets

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Featured image adapted from China Police via The Straits Times and Singapore Police Force.

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