SINGAPORE - He was once the richest man in Hubei province in central China, and ranked by Forbes as the 70th richest man in China in 2007.
Mick Davies, a businessman from China who is now a Singapore citizen living here, found himself on the wrong side of the law when he was convicted yesterday of an offence under the Passports Act.
The 56-year-old pleaded guilty to using a Hong Kong passport under the name Fu Ching for travel in July this year, when he knew the passport had not been issued to him.
Davies, also known as Lan Shili, is involved in three investment companies and six travel companies in Singapore. In 2005, he started East Star Airlines to add to his businesses in areas including real estate, tourism and telecoms.
The court heard that Davies had left Singapore for Guangzhou, China, on a business trip on Feb 11. He was detained by the police in China sometime in March over a purported complaint of fraud lodged by a previous business partner.
He was later released on bail, and told not to leave China. His passport was impounded.
Three months later, Davies embarked on a plan to return to Singapore via Vietnam, which he entered illegally by boat from China on July 9.
He sought help from the Singapore Embassy in Hanoi to get a replacement travel document but was told that this would take time.
He decided to leave Vietnam illegally when told that he would have to report to the Vietnamese authorities to account for how he had entered the country without clearing an immigration checkpoint.
He then paid 55,000 yuan (S$11,336) to a woman he knew as "Ah Hua", who gave him a Hong Kong passport on July 12. The passport bore the name and photo of Fu Ching - a 36-year-old man who looked like Davies.
Davies was also given a plane ticket to fly back to Singapore, and successfully entered the country with the passport the same day.
But about two weeks later on July 27, Davies was arrested at the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority building on suspicion of having committed offences under the Passports Act and the Immigration Act.
In mitigation, his lawyer Chung Ting Fai said returning to Singapore was important for his client, a high-profile businessman in China, as he was running for his life and had received threats to his life in China. He said that, given his client's severe heart condition, Davies was worried that he would suffer from sudden cardiac arrest.
Davies has had two previous episodes of seizure, said Mr Chung, and committed the offence solely to be with his wife and family.
The prosecution is seeking a sentence of at least eight months' jail and will make further submissions on Nov 3 before District Judge Low Wee Ping. The maximum penalty is a $10,000 fine and 10 years' jail.