SINGAPORE - Documents filed in the State Courts showed a wider network of suspects may be linked to the 10 arrested in Singapore in a money laundering case that now involves assets worth more than $1.8 billion.
Some of these suspects are connected to organised crime syndicates operating overseas involved in online gambling, scam centres and illegal moneylending.
In applying for the continued detention without bail for the 10 accused, prosecutors argued that the individuals are linked not just to each other, but also to suspects who fled Singapore and some who are based overseas.
After the bust on Aug 15, police here conducted a second raid on Sept 1, based on intelligence from the foreign authorities that had uncovered assets belonging to the 10 that were previously hidden.
Thus far, police have identified two individuals in court – Suspect X and Subject Y.
On Sept 6, the court heard that Subject Y is the cousin of Wang Baosen, a 31-year-old Chinese national who is currently facing two money laundering charges here relating to monies from illegal remote gambling.
Assets worth more than $18 million have been seized or subjected to prohibition of disposal orders relating to Wang Baosen’s case.
Police also took control of assets owned by his wife, He Huifang, who is a director of two firms registered in Singapore – Huixia Technology and Huixia Technology Investment.
The court was told that one property owned by He Huifang, who claimed to be an investment consultant, was worth more than $14 million.
In an affidavit filed by the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD), the investigation officer said Wang Baosen is a high flight risk as he does not have employment in Singapore and has sources of income overseas, including 1 million yuan (S$189,000) he received from his family’s tea plantation business in China.
The investigating officer, who submitted the affidavit to have Wang Baosen denied bail, wrote: “I believe the accused faces serious offences for which there is early credible evidence. It would therefore be a great injustice should the accused manage to abscond and evade his charges.”
The officer also said the Singapore Police Force is trying to get information from counterparts overseas on the location and activities of Subject Y, who is currently on the run.
The affidavit added that more than $100 million worth of assets in Singapore belonging to Subject Y had been seized or issued prohibition of disposal orders.
The Straits Times had on Sept 3 revealed that Wang Baosen has close links to members of the Hongli gambling syndicate in Cambodia.
They include 34-year-old Wang Bingang and 36-year-old Wang Cailin, who set up the Hongli300 online gambling website in the Philippines in 2013.
The website mainly operated “live” video online gambling for popular games such as baccarat and blackjack. It also dabbled in betting projects for sports and e-sports.
It was reported by the Chinese media that the syndicate recruited family members to be part of the gambling website’s operations, with Wang Bingang allegedly recruiting Wang Baosen to assist with the finance operations of the website in early 2014.
This was just before Hongli’s operations were moved to Cambodia in March 2014.
The authorities shut down the illegal gambling website in October 2014. By then, it was already churning about 980 million yuan in transactions.
Wang Bingang and Wang Cailin were later jailed for three years each by a district court in China in 2015. Wang Baosen was investigated in relation to the case.
The police did not identify Subject Y, but checks by ST showed that Wang Bingang is a person of interest to the Singapore authorities in relation to the money laundering case.
He is an associate of the 10 accused, according to a list sent by the Ministry of Law (MinLaw) to dealers of precious metals and stones. The list, which contains a total of 34 names including the 10 accused, was sent out on Aug 27 with instructions to dealers to review “transactions and business relations to assess if there are any reasonable grounds to suspect criminal conduct, including money laundering, in connection to the police investigation”.
ST found that Wang Bingang is a member of Sentosa Golf Club, having obtained membership in early 2022. At least four of the 10 accused are also members of the exclusive club, which costs around $950,000 for foreigners to join.
Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority records showed Wang Bingang did not have any current or past appointments with registered businesses here.
His registered address was in Rochalie Drive in Tanglin, where good class bungalows are located.
Wang Bingang shares an address with Wang Liyun, another associate of the 10 accused, according to the MinLaw list.
Wang Liyun is listed as director of two consultancy companies set up in 2020, and is also the shareholder of a bridal house, a photo studio and a restaurant.
The restaurant at Orchard Plaza, Jiang Hu Xia Ke, was previously asked to temporarily close in 2020 after staff were caught serving beer from metal teapots and flouting Covid-19 safety rules amid the pandemic.
Prosecutors on Sept 5 revealed that one of the accused – Vang Shuiming, or Wang Shuiming – had communicated with a Suspect X, who is no longer in Singapore, about illegal activities.
Vang, a 42-year-old Turkish national, currently faces one forgery charge and four money laundering charges.
The investigator said that on Aug 31, CAD received information on at least $3 million in assets that were moved in Vang’s name by a person of interest.
This was done after his arrest.
These assets were linked to others previously not known to CAD, and amount to more than US$30 million (S$41 million).
The police here have seized more than $260 million worth of assets belonging to Suspect X.
The police here did not identify Suspect X, but said he is wanted in connection to the ongoing probe, and in China for online gambling activities.
Vang’s brother, Wang Shuiting, is on the MinLaw list. He is also one of eight suspects on the run from the probe here.
ST reported on Sept 3 that the brothers have alleged links to the Heng Bo Bao Wang gambling syndicate, which had a base in Cambodia. The syndicate was behind the operations of illegal gambling services.
According to a notice issued by the Chinese authorities in August 2023, the group developed and maintained several online casinos, and either provided the services directly or leased the gambling services out to others to operate.
The syndicate was uncovered and dismantled in May 2022, with the authorities in China arresting 131 suspects and seizing more than 10 million yuan.
Nine suspects linked to the group, who were living abroad, became fugitives.
They allegedly include Wang Shuiting and Vang, who the police said is closely associated with two of the 10 accused – Su Haijin and Su Baolin.
The notice from the authorities in China urged the nine to return to the country, saying if they did so voluntarily before Oct 10, 2023, they may be granted leniency.
Checks by ST found that the brothers have Cambodian citizenship, with Vang being granted his in March 2019, and Wang Shuiting in November 2018.
Wang Shuiting is also a Sentosa Golf Club member, having gained his membership in the first half of 2022.
Further checks showed that Wang Shuiting is one of eight directors of Cambodian company S.C.W.D Construction.
The letters in the company’s name correspond with the surnames of the directors: Su, Chen, Wang and Deng.
Wang Dehai, one of the 10 arrested in Singapore, is also a director of the same company.
The Cypriot national faces two money laundering charges here, and is wanted in China for alleged links to a gambling gang that was uncovered in 2017.
Meanwhile, police have taken control of more than $200 million in assets tied to Vang. They include four properties and three vehicles, worth more than $29 million in total, almost $1 million in cash, and 11 condominium units still under construction.
Some of these assets are jointly held with his wife Wang Ruiyan, who is the director of Ming Huang Investments and Ming Huang Management, firms registered in Singapore.
Wang Ruiyan is also a person of interest in the case, according to the MinLaw list.