Ex-lawyer admits providing legal advice to Chinese nationals when he was not authorised to do so

Former lawyer Leonard Loo Peng Chee, 45, admitted providing legal advice and preparing legal representations on behalf of four Chinese nationals.
Former lawyer Leonard Loo Peng Chee, 45, admitted providing legal advice and preparing legal representations on behalf of four Chinese nationals. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - After a 24-day hearing, a former lawyer threw in the towel and admitted providing legal advice and preparing legal representations on behalf of four Chinese nationals.

Leonard Loo Peng Chee, 45, who holds the dubious record of having the most complaints filed against him, was struck off the bar four years ago for misconduct. He had claimed trial to his charges but indicated his wish to plead guilty earlier this week.

He was convicted on Wednesday (June 15) of four charges of acting as a lawyer for Ms Zhao Kejing, 24, Ms Luo Guangzhen, 24, Ms Luo Chunyan, 26, and Ms Xie Xin Xin, 27, in 2013 by providing them legal advice.

Three other charges - including another under the Legal Profession Act and abetting a Chinese national to obstruct the course of justice - will be taken into consideration when he is sentenced later.

Loo, who ran a business called Qilin Immigration and Manpower Services Bureau, committed seven offences between 2013 and 2014.

A district court heard that Ms Zhao was arrested for vice-related activities on Nov 20, 2013, and referred to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority for repatriation.

Her landlord gave her Loo's contact number and said Loo was a lawyer who would be able to help her.

When Loo met Ms Zhao at a bar in Balestier, she asked if he was a lawyer but he did not reply.

He asked about her case. She told him that she hoped he could help her get her passport back from the authorities without a ban on her return to Singapore.

Loo said he could help her file an appeal, and quoted her $800 as his fees.

The court heard that Loo took Ms Zhao to the Police Cantonment Complex and ICA Building and did the paperwork for her.

She paid him $400 out of the $800 he asked. She paid him another $200 three days later when he asked her for the balance.

Loo also gave legal advice and prepared legal representations for Ms Luo Guangzhen and Ms Luo Chunyan, who were arrested for vice-related activities on Nov 19 that year.

The duo's friend, Ms Xie, who met Loo at a fast food restaurant, also sought his advice to get an extension of her social visit pass. Loo told her that he would have to write to ICA and that it was unlikely that she would get the month-long extension.

She paid him $800, but later got the money back when she decided not to engage him.

Deputy Public Prosecutors Anandan Bala and Quek Jing Feng will give written submissions on sentencing. The case will be mentioned on Aug 12.

The maximum penalty is a $25,000 fine and six months' jail for each charge.