Gang robbery victim jailed and fined for running unlicensed remittance business

Jalaludeen Gulam Hussain admitted to running the unlicensed remittance business at a Buffalo Road flat.
Jalaludeen Gulam Hussain admitted to running the unlicensed remittance business at a Buffalo Road flat. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - A victim of a $1.3-million gang robbery in Little India in 2012 was jailed for 10 months and given the maximum $100,000 fine on Friday for operating an unlicensed remittance business.

Jalaludeen Gulam Hussain, a 36-year-old Indian national, admitted running the operation at a Buffalo Road flat from January 2010 to July last year without a licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

He made profits of $552,750 during the offending period , one of the largest ever made by such an offender.

He and two compatriots, Kamarulzaman Abuasanar, 31, and Anthony Savarimuthu, 39, were robbed of $1.3 million by three Singaporeans and two Indian nationals at Dunlop Street in September 2012. The robbers are serving between eight and 10½ years' jail each, plus caning.

Last month, Kamarulzaman was jailed for 10 weeks and fined $70,000 while Anthony was jailed for five months and fined $100,000 for running an unlicensed remittance business.

 
 

The court heard that Jalaludeen used a system known as Hawala, which is based on a trust established between the customer and agent.

Jalaludeen would collect remittance funds in Singapore dollars from Indian nationals who came from the same town or village in India then transmit them to India. Representatives there would disburse the equivalent amount in rupees to intended recipients, based on pre-agreed exchange rates. He would also remit money from India to Singapore.

He would convert Singapore dollars by buying gold which would be transmitted to India through couriers. The gold would be sold at a profit in India and the Hawala agents based in India would disburse the proceeds in rupees.

Jalaludeen admitted that from January 2010 to July last year, he had been remitting an average of about $100,000 a day from Singapore to India; and also an average of $150,000 a day from India to Singapore. His average monthly profit was about $8,250.

Seeking a sentence of 12 months' jail and a $100,000 fine to be imposed, Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Khoo said such offences were hard to detect and Jalaludeen was motivated by financial gain.

Jalaludeen's lawyer Sarbrinder Singh said his client, who is married with no children, had suffered as a victim, and had co-operated fully with authorities.

The maximum penalty is a $100,000 fine and two years' jail.