SINGAPORE – A man was sentenced to six weeks’ jail on Friday (June 3) for providing unlicensed cross-border money transfer services involving funds traced to a China officials impersonation scam.
On March 25, Wang Wai Keong, 68, a Singaporean who is also known as Wong Wai Keong, pleaded guilty to and was convicted of one count of providing unlicensed cross-border money transfer service.
Police said Wang had acted on the directions of an unidentified foreign person on three occasions between March 31 and April 8, 2020.
On April 9 that year, a victim reported that she had been cheated of at least $1 million in cash.
Believing that she was being investigated for suspected money laundering, she had given the cash to two women who claimed to be Chinese police officers.
One of the women then passed $209,370 to Wang, who remitted the money out of Singapore through an overseas contact.
Wang was arrested on April 15, 2020, and made full restitution of the amount on April 16.
He was a business development manager for a licensed money changer and remittance service provider.
The police said: “This meant that he was fully aware of the regulations and the mandatory customer due diligence measures for such transactions. Yet, he failed to adhere to them.”
This was not the first time that Wang had been arrested for providing unlicensed remittance services.
He remitted money overseas using the “Hawala method”, an informal arrangement that relies on trust between agents in the forwarding and receiving countries. He had been providing the service illegally for at least two years before his arrest on April 15, 2020.
Those found guilty of providing cross-border money transfer services without a licence can be fined up to $125,000, jailed up for to three years, or both.
The police advises the public to engage banks or licensed cross-border money transfer agents instead of unlicensed payment service entities to avoid the risk of losing their money.