The biggest anti-money laundering case in Singapore has resulted in the seizure of assets worth almost S$2.4 billion ($1.76 billion) following the simultaneous raid of 400 police officers in the city that brought under arrest 10 persons.
Police Raid in August 2023:
As reported by Reuters, police seized in August 15, 2023 more than S$76 million in cash, over S$38 million in cryptocurrencies, 68 gold bars, as well as around 110 properties and 62 vehicles altogether worth more than S$1.2 million. On the occasion, police arrested ten individuals on the allegations that they were “laundering the proceeds of their overseas organized crime activities, including scams and online gambling.”
34 Suspects, 10 Arrested:
On August 27, the Ministry of Law distributed a list of 34 persons suspected for being connected with the organized crime group across the Singapore’s network of precious metal and stone traders. According to Reuters, the 10 arrested individuals were included in the list and the dealers were instructed to report any suspicious transactions that may point to the money laundering activities.
Seized Assets Arrived At S$2.4 Billion in September:
The investigation continued and police reportedly seized assets and bank accounts worth S$1.8 billion by the beginning of September. Also, the seizure included S$23 million in cash, properties, cars, as well as two gold bars and multiple bags and watches. It seems that the amount of the seizure is expected to increase even more as some assets are leading authorities to Swiss bank accounts, according to Reuters.
Hongli International’s Illegal Activity:
The ten arrested persons reportedly had passports from Cyprus, Cambodia, Dominica, China, Turkey and Vanuatu. According to the Business Times, the crime syndicate made millions offering illegal online gambling services by running the Hongli International gambling site from the Philippines and Cambodia. The syndicate was reportedly mentioned in Chinese media reports and by international organizations as a pioneering Philippine offshore gambling operator (POGO) illegally targeting players in China.
Heng Bo Bao Wang Also Involved:
As Business Times reports, the police suspects that the Heng Bo Bao Wang criminal group was also involved in the money laundering activities. Police is now reportedly investigating the possible connection of the ten arrested with either Hongli or Heng Bo Bao Wang groups as the leading members of both syndicates fled from the recent raid, according to the source.
Singapore is known worldwide for having low crime rates and being a desirable destination for investors and tourists. The recent arrests and seizures have been the major topic in the city these days, according to Reuters, but the reports that financial indicators of Singapore recently rose 4% above the global average seem to attract not only tourist and investors but also players with different financial skills.