Jail for man over plan to help businessman allegedly linked to $1.2b fraud case flee Singapore

Keeren Marcus Phang Guan Wei (left) offered his accomplice a reward to be part of a plan to help Ng Yu Zhi unlawfully flee Singapore. PHOTOS: KELVIN CHNG, ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A man offered his accomplice a reward of between $50,000 and $100,000 to be part of a plan to help Ng Yu Zhi - a businessman allegedly linked to one of Singapore's largest investment fraud schemes - to unlawfully flee the country.

Police had found out about the plan during a separate investigation into unrelated gambling offences and the authorities took immediate steps to stop the escape bid.

On Wednesday (March 9), Keeren Marcus Phang Guan Wei, 32, was sentenced to three months' jail after he pleaded guilty to engaging in a conspiracy with his accomplice Alvin Oey Weizhong and another man, Ding Kuon Chwo, to obstruct the course of justice.

Oey, 37, was sentenced in January to 11 months' jail and a fine of $20,000 after he pleaded guilty to a similar charge. He also admitted to an offence linked to unlawful gambling activities.

The cases involving Ng, 34, and Ding, 63, are pending. All four men are Singaporeans.

Ng, the former director of Envy Asset Management and Envy Global Trading, is said to be linked to a nickel trading scheme that allegedly cheated investors of at least $1.2 billion.

He was charged in court on March 22 last year and currently faces more than 90 charges, including multiple counts of cheating.

The following month, Phang heard rumours that the boss of "Envy car shop" wanted to abscond from Singapore and that a "hefty financial reward" was offered to those who could facilitate the escape bid.

Phang also suspected that the "boss" in question was Ng.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Cheng You Duen said that Phang then instructed Oey to check if he could help "someone" unlawfully leave Singapore for Malaysia.

He also offered Oey a reward of between $50,000 and $100,000. Oey agreed to be part of the plan, the court heard.

The DPP added that Oey then called Ding some time in April last year and instructed the older man to find a way to illegally transport a person from Singapore to Malaysia.

According to court documents, Ding agreed to help Oey with his inquiry.

About two weeks later, Phang told Oey that Ng was the person they were helping to flee Singapore. Phang also told Oey that Ng's criminal case had been reported in the news.

When asked for an update on the plans, Oey said he would call Phang once he found someone who could help Ng run away.

DPP Cheng told the court: "Some time later, Alvin learnt from Ding that he managed to find one 'Ah Seng' who suggested leaving by boat from Singapore to Batam, and then from Batam to Malaysia.

"He reported Ding's information to (Phang) and asked (Phang) to check with Ng on the arrangement."

Phang then told Oey that he had trouble contacting Ng and later approached a man to ask for Ng's contact number.

The man, however, rejected the request as he did not want to help Ng flee.

The police later found out about the plan and the offenders were charged in court last year.

On Wednesday, defence lawyer Sarbrinder Singh from Sanders Law pleaded for Phang to be given three months' jail.

Mr Singh said: "The accused (had) rendered full cooperation and assistance to the authorities. He was upfront and revealed all he knew to the police during investigations."

Phang has been offered bail of $15,000 and was ordered to surrender himself at the State Courts on March 22 to begin serving his sentence.

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