What brought down Singapore oil trading giant Hin Leong? Tracing the rise and fall of oil tycoon O.K. Lim

What brought down Singapore oil trading giant Hin Leong? Business Correspondent Grace Leong traces the fall of self-made billionaire Lim Oon Kuin and the unravelling of his empire.

A Hin Leong supertanker in the waters off Jurong Island last year. Hin Leong has filed for bankruptcy protection and founder Lim Oon Kuin admitted that he directed the firm to hide about US$800 million in futures trading losses.
A Hin Leong supertanker in the waters off Jurong Island last year. Hin Leong has filed for bankruptcy protection and founder Lim Oon Kuin admitted that he directed the firm to hide about US$800 million in futures trading losses.PHOTO: REUTERS

Oil tycoon Lim Oon Kuin founded Hin Leong Trading in 1963 at age 20, with a single truck delivering diesel to fishermen and small rural power producers.

Two years later, he started an oil distribution business as a "one-man-one-truck" oil dealer, selling oil he bought wholesale from major producers to taxi and bus companies and fishing boat operators.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 28, 2020, with the headline 'Spectacular free fall'. Subscribe