SINGAPORE — A couple who allegedly failed to deliver at least $32 million worth of luxury watches and bags to their customers had fled Singapore by hiding in a container compartment of a lorry.
In response to media queries by Yahoo News Singapore, a spokesperson with the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) on Wednesday (20 July) said a 40-year-old Malaysian man had helped the couple to leave Singapore illegally.
The Malaysian was arrested and charged last Friday for his role in the couple's escape on 4 July.
"ICA takes a serious view of attempts to enter or depart Singapore illegally and will not hesitate to prosecute offenders for such cases. We are working closely with the relevant authorities on this case," said the spokesperson.
While ICA conducts "100 per cent" checks on arrival conveyances, it also adopts a "risk management approach" for checks on departing conveyances. Its aim is to balance between ensuring smooth departure clearance and border security at the checkpoints.
Departing conveyances may be directed for further checks based on risk profiling or any information received, the spokesperson added.
— Yahoo Singapore (@YahooSG) July 20, 2022
Singapore police on Wednesday said arrest warrants and Interpol notices have been issued against the couple – a 26-year-old Singaporean man, Pi Jiapeng, and his 27-year-old Thai wife, Pansuk Siriwipa.
Pi was arrested by the police on 27 June for his suspected involvement in the cheating offences. He was released on bail the next day with his passport impounded. Siriwipa, who was assisting the police with their investigation, surrendered her passport to the police on 30 June.
The duo subsequently became uncontactable.
At least 180 reports have been lodged since June against two companies, Tradenation and Tradeluxury, which the couple are associated with.
Their victims claimed that they made payments for luxury watches or bags to the companies, which then failed to deliver the goods.
The Ministry of Law (MinLaw) said Tradenation was registered as a precious stones and metals dealer on 2 April. Registered dealers are regulated in order to guard against anti-money laundering and terrorism financing.
There were no grounds to refuse Tradenation a licence at the point of registration, added the ministry. Its registration has since been suspended by MinLaw and can be terminated upon conviction.
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