Drug case of Metro Holdings founder's grandson up for pre-trial conference

Ong Jenn, the grandson of Metro founder Ong Tjoe Kim, was first charged on Nov 1, 2014.
Ong Jenn, the grandson of Metro founder Ong Tjoe Kim, was first charged on Nov 1, 2014.PHOTO: TOMPANG

SINGAPORE - A 41-year-old business development manager of property and retail giant Metro Holdings is facing eight drug-related charges.

Ong Jenn, who is the grandson of the Metro founder Mr Ong Tjoe Kim and son of former Metro group managing director Mr Jopie Ong, was first charged on Nov 1, 2014, according to a Channel News Asia report.

His next pre-trial conference is scheduled for Aug 19.

He is accused of abetting Mohamad Ismail Abdul Majid, by engaging in a conspiracy with the latter to traffick in two blocks of cannabis, one weighing 92.68g and the other, 385.1g.

On Oct 30, 2014, Ismail was caught with the drugs along Jurong Port Road at about 4.20pm.

The next day, Ong was himself arrested. Anti-narcotics officers allegedly found a vaporiser for inhaling drugs in his car at Ngee Ann City car park at about 1.20pm.

Shortly after, at about 2.10pm, at 11 Bishopsgate, a landed property, they purportedly found two blocks of cannabis belonging to Ong, one weighing 75.32g and the other, 284.7g, for the purpose of trafficking.

They also found 1.44g of cannabis, and 8.41g of a mixture containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive component of cannabis, that allegedly belonged to him.

The same day, Ong's urine purportedly tested positive for a metabolite of THC that is formed in the body after cannabis is consumed.

Ong's lawyer is Senior Counsel Tan Chee Meng, deputy chairman of WongPartnership.

If found guilty of his four charges of trafficking in Class A controlled drugs, Ong faces a mandatory jail term of between five and 20 years, with five to 15 strokes of the cane, per charge.

For the two counts of having a Class A controlled drug in his possession, he faces up to 10 years' jail and a $20,000 fine, if convicted.

If found guilty of having an utensil for consuming a Class A controlled drug, he faces up to three years' jail and a $10,000 fine.

And if convicted of consuming cannabis, cannabinol or cannabinol derivatives, Ong faces up to 10 years' jail and a $20,000 fine.

Metro Holdings was founded in 1957 by Mr Ong Tjoe Kim. It started out as a textile store at 72 High Street and is today a property development and investment group with a turnover of S$145.8 million and net assets of S$1.4 billion as at 31 March 2015.

The group operates two core business segements: Property development and investment, and retail. The retail segment includes three Metro stores in Singapore.

Ong was listed as a "substantial shareholder" in the group in its latest annual report. His father, Mr Jopie Ong Hie Koan, was group managing director from 1973 until his death in February.

According to his online profile, Ong has been Metro's business development manager from January 2003. He attended Boston University's School of Management from 1996 to 2000. He is also the founder and director of Tompang,a peer-to-peer retail platform operator.