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Singapore has convicted 32-year-old Cambodian national Su Wenqiang to 13 months in prison for his role in a record S$3bn ($2.2bn) gambling money laundering case.

In August 2023, the Singapore police arrested 10 foreign nationals suspected of laundering the proceeds of overseas criminal activity including from online gambling.

The police seized several billions of dollars in assets during the operation including luxury cars, watches, cash, jewellery, properties, handbags and wine.

More than 400 officers from multiple police departments were involved in simultaneous raids in multiple locations across the city state.

Among those arrested was Wenqiang, who was charged with 11 offences including for money laundering and forging documents.

POGO money laundered through Singapore

Investigations revealed Wenqiang was involved with an illegal Philippines-based remote gambling operator.

Often termed POGOs (Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators), these operations are involved with offering unlicensed offshore gambling to Asian countries including China.

Many such businesses operate without the sanction of the Philippines government, and have been linked to Chinese organised crime, as well as cases of murder and slavery.

Police also seized S$6m in assets from Wenqiang. This consisted of cash, two vehicles, jewellery, luxury items and alcohol.

“The police have seized all the illicit funds brought into Singapore by the accused,” said director of the commercial affairs department David Chew.

“The police will take swift and firm action against money laundering activities by criminal syndicates.

“We will zealously keep our financial system clean and work hard to trace, seize and confiscate all criminal property brought into Singapore.

“Law enforcement, the Suspicious Transaction Reporting Office and regulatory agencies will continue to work together to better detect complex money laundering, arrest the criminals, charge them and deprive them of their ill-gotten gains.”

The news is the latest twist in the blockbuster gambling money laundering case that has led to serious questions about the robustness of the current framework.

The news led to the government launching an inter-ministerial effort to investigate Singapore’s AML/ CTF regime in October 2023.

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