Cambodian authorities say they are investigating three naturalized Cambodian nationals arrested by Singapore authorities in a large money laundering case involving around $737 million in assets.
Singapore police stated they arrested 10 people last Tuesday, three of whom were identified as Cambodian nationals, in a raid seizing assets including properties and luxury cars.
Police suspected the group was laundering proceeds from “overseas organized crime activities including scams and online gambling.” Cambodia was removed from global anti-money laundering watchdog Financial Action Task Force’s “grey list” in February.
The arrested suspects included Chinese, Turkish, Cypriot and Vanuatu nationals ranging in age from 31 to 44, according to Singapore police.
Three of the suspects, Su Baolin, 41, Chen Qingyuan, 33, and Sun Wenqiang, 31, were identified by Singapore police as holding Cambodian passports. Qingyuan and Wenqiang were charged with money laundering and Baolin charged with using forged documents. Money laundering charges could lead to as much as 10 years in prison in Singapore.
Police charged a fourth suspect, Cypriot national Wang Dehai, with money laundering and stated he appeared to also hold a Cambodian passport.
Baolin, Qingyuan and Wenqiang hailed from Fujian province in southeastern China and were naturalized as Cambodian citizens between August 2018 and February 2019, according to Royal Gazette records. No records of Dehai were found by CamboJA.
Qingyuan was charged with money laundering after his arrest at his condominium in Leonie Hill Road in the River Valley area. He was also allegedly found in possession of other foreign passports believed to be issued by China and the Dominican Republic. The police seized items including close to $440,000 in cash and other foreign currencies, 23 pieces of jewelry, and six luxury watches, according to Singapore police.
He is the director of Singaporean-based firm HiCloud Technology, which offers cloud solutions and services, the Straits Times reported.
Baolin was charged with using a forged document and was allegedly found with a foreign passport believed to be issued by China. More than $570,000 in cash, 33 luxury bags and watches, and 75 pieces of jewelry were seized from his possession.
Baolin is a shareholder of construction firm Sentosa Project, which develops leisure and tourism destinations and the director and shareholder of Sg-Gree, an electrical appliance company that manufactures air-conditioners, the Straits Times reported.
Police reported froze five bank accounts connected to Dahai and seizing millions of dollars worth of assets from him, including 11 electronic devices, dozens of luxury watches, bags and jewelry and two vehicles worth around $17 million.
Thou Saroeun, deputy director of Cambodia’s Anti-Terrorism and Transnational Crimes Department, said he had limited information about the case and assumed the suspects were not Cambodian nationals. He referred CamboJA to the National Police.
National Police Chhay Kim Khoeun did not respond to requests for comment.
Top Net, Deputy Director General of the General Department of Identification told CamboJA on Wednesday that his department is working with the Singapore Embassy in Phnom Penh.
“We are investigating with the Singaporean side. We do not have clear information yet,” Net said. “As is normal when there is a transitional crime involving Cambodian citizens, the other side would send related documents for clarification through the embassy.”
Top Net declined to comment on whether Cambodian authorities would ask for the extradition of Cambodian suspects.
The Singapore Embassy in Phnom Penh did not respond to requests for comment through an email.
Vice Chairperson of the Interior Ministry’s National Committee for Counter Trafficking Chou Bun Eng told CamboJA that Cambodian authorities would cooperate with their Singaporean counterparts.
“In this case we must carry out an investigation if they are claimed to be Cambodians because it is related to our nationality,” she said.