Thursday, February 29, 2024
HomesingaporeTradenation luxury goods scam: 4 victims fail to get up to S$2.84...

Tradenation luxury goods scam: 4 victims fail to get up to S$2.84 million released in seized properties

SINGAPORE: Four alleged victims of a multi-million-dollar luxury goods scam have failed in their bid to get a court order for the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) of the Singapore Police Force to release up to S$2.84 million (US$2.07 million) in seized properties to them.

The four applicants, Chng Zhun Teck Jackson, Lee Boon Ping, Chang Khang Lee and Tan Jen Sen Hermen, are customers of Tradenation and Tradeluxury.

The two companies are run by Singaporean Pi Jiapeng and his Thai wife Siriwipa Pansuk. The pair, who are both 28, are allegedly at the centre of a luxury goods scam involving at least S$20 million with more than 180 police reports filed against their two companies.

According to a judgment made available over the weekend, the police reports alleged that the companies failed to fulfil orders of luxury watches and luxury bags, after receiving full payment.

The couple were on the run for about five weeks before being arrested in Malaysia and handed over to Singapore police on Aug 11 last year.

They were later remanded and handed over a hundred charges each, including cheating and fraudulent trading.

The four applicants in this case had obtained default judgments against the accused couple and their two companies in civil proceedings in the High Court.

Armed with the judgments, they turned to a magistrate’s court seeking the release of up to S$2.84 million from properties seized by CAD in the course of their criminal investigations, in order to satisfy the civil judgments they managed to obtain.

They sought the funds from four bank accounts seized by CAD, as well as the balance sale proceeds of a Chevrolet Corvette V8 that was purchased by Pi.

Despite accepting that the applicants have the standing to bring these applications, the prosecution opposed them, saying the applications should not be allowed as they are “not necessary in the interests of justice” and that CAD should be allowed to focus on investigations.

If the applications are allowed, there would likely be other applications brought by other interested parties “eager to secure a share of the seized proceeds”, said the prosecution.

On top of this, the four bank accounts were seized before the applicants obtained the judgments.

District Judge Cheng Yuxi dismissed the customers’ application for the release of funds.

She said she understood the desire of the applicants to enforce the judgments they had obtained.

“However, Parliament has decided where to draw the line between the powers of the police to seize property for the efficacy of investigations, and the hardship caused to those who are prevented from dealing with the property,” she said. 

“The role of the court is simply to give effect to the clear legislative provisions. On the particular facts of this case, the applicants do not fall within the delimited circumstances where release of seized funds is envisaged.”

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