Fugitive posed as lawyer in New York after fleeing Singapore

Ng Chong Lin practised immigration law in New York City while using the name and registration number of a real attorney to file US federal documents.
Ng Chong Lin practised immigration law in New York City while using the name and registration number of a real attorney to file US federal documents. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Ng Chong Lin skipped town for New York in 2003, two days before his appeal against a jail sentence for forgery was to be heard.

In a story that could have been a movie plot, the 31-year-old took on the identity of Daveng Wee - with Daveng believed to an amalgamation of Dave Ng, the name by which he was called.

In another layer of deceit, he also practised immigration law in New York City, using the name and registration number of a real attorney to file documents to federal authorities on behalf of individuals in various immigration matters.

In 2010, under his bogus name of Daveng Wee, he was charged in a US court with aggravated identity theft for impersonating an attorney and five counts of making false statements to immigration authorities.

He was jailed 48 months after pleading guilty but later made various bids to overturn his conviction and sentence, including asking the US Supreme Court to review his case.

All his attempts failed and he was deported to Singapore in May last year, when he was arrested and taken into custody.

These details emerged in the High Court on Wednesday (May 18) when Ng's 2003 appeal, shelved for 13 years after he had absconded, came up for hearing.

As part of their arguments for the appeal, prosecutors provided details of his offences in the US and succeeded in having the information admitted as fresh evidence.

However, the actual appeal was adjourned and will be heard after a new trial against Ng for using someone else's name for a passport to leave Singapore in 2003.

In March 2003, Ng had pleaded guilty in a district court to forgery and other offences.

He filed an appeal the following month after being sentenced to three years and three months' jail. Bail was granted and his passport surrendered to the Commercial Affairs Department pending the appeal.

In June, Ng applied for another passport, which bore his photograph but the particulars of one Wee Pui Kee.

On June 22, 2003, two days before his appeal was to be heard before then Chief Justice Yong Pung How, he used this passport to leave for New York.

Between October 2006 and March 2009, Ng pretended to be a New York attorney. In May 2007, he applied for temporary residence in the US, falsely claiming to have attended schools in New York.

"Daveng Wee" was ordered to be deported from the US in 2013. It was only after his fingerprints were sent to the Singapore police, that his actual identity was revealed.