SINGAPORE - A Vietnamese property magnate, who is wanted in Vietnam for allegedly disclosing state secrets, has been detained in Singapore, said a lawyer appointed to represent him here.
Mr Phan Van Anh Vu, 42, is said to have entered Singapore on Dec 21, but found himself unable to leave as his passport had been cancelled by the Vietnamese authorities, reported the BBC.
Mr Choo Zheng Xi, who was engaged by Mr Vu's family to represent him, told The Straits Times on Monday (Jan 1) that the businessman had been stopped from leaving Singapore via the Tuas checkpoint on Dec 28.
The whereabouts of Mr Vu has been the subject of speculation in Vietnam, after the country's Ministry of Public Security said it had issued an arrest warrant for him.
Another lawyer, Mr Foo Cheow Ming, confirmed that he has also been approached by Mr Vu's family to "advise him and to provide legal consultation".
Speaking to The Straits Times on Tuesday, he said: "I am now trying to obtain access to see Mr Vu, who is held in remand."
He added that Mr Vu is held with the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, and that he is "still trying to find out more from the arresting authorities".
According to Vietnamese media reports, Mr Vu previously served as a police senior lieutenant colonel.
He was said to have had close ties with former secretary of the Da Nang Party Committee Nguyen Xuan Anh, who was also a member of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee, according to a Xinhua news report on Dec 27.
Anh was dismissed from the two positions in October last year.
The Saigon Times Daily reported in a Dec 25 article on its website that Mr Vu, who is a chairman of three companies in Vietnam, was accused of giving away state secrets deliberately.
According to the report, police raided Mr Vu's residence in Da Nang city, but failed to find him there.
It did not elaborate on the nature of the state secrets.
The report also said Mr Vu is believed to be involved in some property projects being investigated by the police.
Mr Choo said Mr Vu has applied to a European country for asylum, but declined to identify the country.
He added that his client had travelled through Singapore "without trouble" in the past and he was not clear why the businessman was being held.
The Straits Times has contacted Singapore's Immigration and Checkpoints Authority and Ministry of Home Affairs for comment.