November 17, 2023
SINGAPORE – Relatives of money laundering accused Wang Baosen were denied passes to enter and remain in Singapore after his arrest on Aug 15, the court heard on Thursday as it rejected his second attempt at securing bail.
The Chinese national’s mother, brother and niece applied to enter Singapore to give him support after the police rounded up 10 foreign nationals, including Wang, and seized about $2.8 billion in cash and assets.
His mother was in the country on a social visit pass when Wang was arrested, the court heard. She tried to extend the visit pass but was rejected.
After leaving Singapore, she applied to enter the country again but failed.
Wang, who was here on a dependant pass, argued that his family has strong ties to the country. In his affidavit, he said he and his wife He Huifang set up a family office here as a way to relocate to Singapore.
Huixia Technology Investment and Huixia Technology FO were incorporated in April 2021 before the couple moved here at different times in January 2022.
Their older daughter moved here in the same month, and the younger daughter came in August that year.
Wang’s lawyer, Mr Favian Kang from Adelphi Law Chambers, said on Thursday that his client’s ties to the country showed he was not a flight risk.
He said Wang’s two daughters, aged three and four, are enrolled in schools here, and that his family members had made plans to visit him.
Mr Kang added that Wang loves his daughters “very much” and they serve as a deterrent to him absconding as “he would never leave them behind”.
He added that his client’s Chinese and Vanuatu passports – as well as assets of more than $18 million in relation to his case – had been seized by the authorities.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Foo Shi Hao said Wang’s family members could just as easily leave Singapore if he were to abscond.
“Even if they successfully enter Singapore, that would not ameliorate the accused’s flight risk,” he added.
At the bail review hearing on Thursday, which saw the prosecution accuse Wang of giving false information to the authorities, DPP Foo cited an affidavit by an investigation officer (IO) with the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) to counter the accused’s claims that he has strong ties to the country.
The IO said that Wang moved here less than two years before his arrest. The officer added that his wife and daughters are Chinese nationals.
DPP Foo said the accused also has overseas sources of funds – namely, his family’s tea plantation in Anxi county in Fujian province.
The accused earlier admitted to the IO he had received one million yuan (S$188,470) from his family’s business in the past, which he claimed he gambled away.
His father also has a history of giving him large sums of money – at least $1.27 million between 2016 and 2023 – of which $300,000 was given to Wang in 2022 to pay for a property in Turkey to obtain a Turkish passport.
It is not clear if he obtained the passport.
The prosecution said Wang has links to overseas criminal operations as well. He had earlier admitted to the police that he had previously worked with his cousin Wang Bingang at Hong Li International Entertainment, an illegal remote gambling site.
He said his superior was Wang Cailin, one of two associates who helped Wang Bingang set up the gambling site in 2012.
But Wang later tried to change his story in his affidavit.
DPP Foo said: “Not only does the accused have links to people involved in an illegal online gambling business, he has also shown himself to be untruthful about such links.
“This heightens the risk that the accused would collude with other persons related to this business if he were allowed to go on bail.”
District Judge Terence Tay said the IO’s dealings with Wang suggest the accused is a disingenuous individual who is flippant with his dealings with the CAD and the courts.
“Though two known passports were seized, there is no evidence that the accused cannot obtain new passports. His daughters also applied to be in an international school rather than a mainstream school.
“Though the defence claimed that our public infrastructure will ensure the accused does not abscond, I am reluctant to take the entitled view that the entire police force and population of Singapore will ensure he does not,” added the judge.
In denying him bail, the judge said Wang did not discharge the burden that bail should be extended to him.
Thursday’s session was Wang’s second attempt at seeking bail, after his previous application on Sept 6 was rejected. Wang faces two money laundering charges here relating to monies from illegal remote gambling.
He faces a maximum jail term of up to 10 years and a fine of up to $500,000 for each charge.