Robbery victim ran illegal business

Indian national admitted to operating remittance trade here without a licence

A man who was a victim along with two others in a $1.3 million heist in Little India turned out to be running an illegal remittance business in Singapore.

Yesterday, Indian national Kamarulzaman Abuasanar, 31, admitted to operating the business without a valid licence between March 2010 and July this year .

The two others - Anthony Savarimuthu, 39, and Jalaludeen Gulam Husain, 35 - had their cases adjourned to Jan 21 and Dec 17 respectively. Husain is claiming trial.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Khoo said the trio were victims of a gang robbery in Dunlop Street in September 2012.

They were robbed of $1.3 million which had been collected from other Indian nationals to be remitted to various payees in India.

Abuasanar and Savarimuthu ran two separate remittance businesses known as hawala - an alternative and informal channel for transferring funds from one country to another through service providers known as hawala agents.

As hawala agents, Abuasanar and Savarimuthu would collect money in Singapore dollars from Indian nationals and later send it to India by arranging for their representatives there to disburse the equivalent amount in rupees to the intended recipients.

They would convert the Singapore dollars they had collected into goods by buying gold and/or electronic items in Singapore. These items would then be sent to India through Indian couriers who travelled frequently between the two countries.

The items would be sold in India and the money used to replenish the stock of rupees for the hawala agents based in India to disburse.

Abuasanar will be sentenced on Jan 21.

The robbers - five of them - have been convicted and sentenced to between eight and 10 1/2 years' jail each plus caning.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 12, 2015, with the headline 'Robbery victim ran illegal business'. Print Edition | Subscribe