Cambodian Journalists Alliance Association

Nine of Ten Charged in Singaporean Money Laundering Raids Appear to Be Cambodian Citizens

Photos released by the Singaporean police show stacks of cash belonging to the money laundering suspects. More than $16 million in hard cash alone was seized during the city-wide raid.
Photos released by the Singaporean police show stacks of cash belonging to the money laundering suspects. More than $16 million in hard cash alone was seized during the city-wide raid.

All but one of the ten arrested this month in Singaporean money laundering raids appear to be Cambodian citizens, according to Cambodian naturalization documents obtained by CamboJA.

The names and ages of nine charged suspects match those listed on Cambodian naturalization documents from 2018 to 2021, which was first reported Wednesday by the online scam tracking site Cyber Scam Monitor.

The city-wide coordinated raid on August 15 involving 400 officers resulted in the arrests of nine men and one woman accused of money laundering through the island city state and the seizure of almost $700 million in cars, property, wine, watches, gold, handbags and other luxury items. Each suspect also possessed a variety of passports, the most common being passports seemingly issued by the Kingdom of Cambodia and the People’s Republic of China.

The initial arresting report from Singapore’s police department listed four of the ten suspects as either Cambodian nationals or holding Cambodia passports, but the naturalization documents suggest the syndicate could have broader ties to Cambodia. An even more extensive set of Chinese-born naturalized Cambodian citizens documented in the Cyber Scam Monitor reports align with “the expansion of Cambodia’s online scamming industry,” according to the site. 

Since the suspects have been identified, local Chinese outlets have reported that all ten were part of a Fujianese gang known simply as the “Fujian Gang,” a group that mainly operates in Anxi county in Fujian, an area notorious for online scams. Cyber Scam Monitor’s reports state that other Fujianese individuals naturalized in Cambodia on the same days as the suspects are owners of documented Cambodian cyber scam compounds.

“This arrest sends a strong signal of the intent of the Singaporean authorities to curb the use of the country as a hub for this type of activity. It also shows the extent to which Cambodia is involved in enabling criminality,” said Jason Tower, the Myanmar country director for the United States Institute for Peace. “Criminal networks perpetrating increasingly complex cyber scams deploying forced labor are now deeply embedded in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.” 

Tower went on to explain how online scams known as pig-butchering are operated largely by individuals linked to China and said that it is common for Chinese criminals, such as those arrested in Singapore, to obtain citizenship in “corrupt countries.” He cited the example of gambling kingpin She Zhijiang, who was able to obtain Cambodian citizenship in 2017 despite being wanted by Chinese police since 2012.  

Two of the suspects wrangled by Singaporean police are reportedly brothers, Su Haijin and Su Baolin. A Su Haijin of the same age obtained citizenship on December 17, 2018. The Su Zigen Chengmei company in Cambodia also has a Su Haijin listed as the chairman of the board of directors.

A Wang Shuiming of the same age as the suspect, spelled Vang Shuiming in some media reports, was given Cambodian citizenship on March 2, 2019 and someone by the same name is listed as chairmen of the board for Daming IT Services

Shuiming and Lin Baoying are the only two born in China’s Hubei Province, according to the corresponding official Cambodian documents. The others arrested were born in Fujian. Baoying was the only woman charged. 

Baoying and Zhang Ruijin were arrested together, according to police, and reports vary regarding if they are married or not. Unlike all of the other suspects, CamboJA has not reviewed any documents suggesting that Ruijin is a Cambodian citizen. 

The Straits Times reported that Ruijin blamed Baoying when they were charged in court. 

“You can separate her crimes from me, we are just lovers… you can bail me out but remand her,” he reportedly told the court.

Police also seized a variety of passports from each suspect, the most common being what appear to be Chinese and Cambodian documents.

On August 14, 2018, a Chen Qingyuan and a Wong Dehai with the same ages of the arrested suspects both obtained Cambodian citizenship. Singaporean police also identified Qingyuan as a Cambodian national in its police report. Both men are listed as officials for Cambodian-based companies. 

Quingyuan was confirmed to be a director of HiCloud Technology, formerly named M2R System Technology, when he appeared in court Wednesday. Cambodian records indicate he was the Cambodian-based director for the Singaporean company. He is also listed as the chairman of the board for Cambodian-based Skykey International and Haocai Investment, which has the same address in Phnom Penh as HiCloud.

A person named Wong Dehai is a director at Cambodian company S.C.W.D Construction. The Straits Times, as well as other local Chinese media outlets, have reported that Dehai is head of the Wong family in the Fujian Gang and that Dehai, Su Jianfeng and Su Wenqiang are allegedly linked to an illegal gambling group in China.

Jianfeng and Wenqiang both have corresponding Cambodian naturalization documents indicating they obtained Cambodian citizenship in 2019. A Su Jianfeng is listed as a director of the company Great Rise Personnel Consultant, registered in Cambodia in 2018. 

Wang Baosen also has a corresponding Cambodian naturalization document indicating he was granted citizenship in 2020. He is associated with known figures in illegal online gambling scams, according to the Straits Times.

“Any delays of substantial actions taken against these operations will tarnish Cambodia’s regional and international reputation inevitably. Failure to address the issues will affect business confidence, tourism, and the new government’s pledge to build a more meritocratic society of integrity and transparency,” stated Chhengpor Aun, a visiting fellow with the International Institute for Strategic Studies. “This unaddressed or under-addressed issue underscores shortfalls on the Cambodian side. This is a big test on the new cabinet.” 

Kirth Chantharith, director general of Cambodia’s General Department of Immigration, and Kang Sokhorn, director general of the General Identification Department, did not respond to requests for comment.

The investigation is ongoing and another eight individuals are wanted in connection with these crimes, according to the Singaporean police. 

Additional reporting by Leila Goldstein