Stomper remits $18,000 to bank in China but account frozen by police due to money laundering

Submitted by Stomper Christopher

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He can no longer access the money.

A Singaporean remitted $18,000 to his wife's bank account in China, only to be informed by the bank that the account was frozen by the police due to money laundering.

Stomper Christopher said he flew to China and was told by police there that the bank account was linked to the "biggest money launderer in Asia".

He is only one of many in Singapore who had their bank account frozen after remitting money through companies in Chinatown.

The Stomper recounted that he and his wife had remitted their money at a company called Chang Cheng Zhongguo Remittance in People's Park Complex on July 15.

Two days later, they were notified by the bank that Chinese police gave instructions to freeze our bank account and we were provided with a contact number to speak with the investigator.

"In our conversation with the Chinese police investigator, we were informed that the sender of the 97,794 yuan (S$18,000) was involved in a massive money laundering business in China," said the Stomper.

"We informed the Chinese police that we had no knowledge about the sender as we had only visited a licensed remittance company in Singapore to remit the said amount.

"In reply, the Chinese police requested our attendance at the police station."

The Stomper said when he contacted the remittance company, the staff told him they were not responsible.

The Stomper made a police report on Oct 17.

In response to a Stomp query, the police shared a joint statement made with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) addressing police reports by Chinese foreign workers in Singapore who have remitted money to China through certain remittance companies in Singapore, but their beneficiaries’ bank accounts in China have been suspended by the Chinese authorities as a result of suspected non-compliance with their domestic laws.

"The police have considered these reports carefully, and in consultation with the Attorney-General Chambers, based on the facts and circumstances presently known of the cases, assessed that there is no criminal offence disclosed in Singapore in relation to the matters raised in the reports," said the statement.

"Nevertheless, police, MAS and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) have been working to provide assistance to the affected remitters as much as we can."

The police added that the Singapore authorities have no jurisdiction over actions by foreign authorities.

Remittance companies are expected to render full assistance, and provide the necessary documents, to their affected customers.

The statement said: "MAS has engaged the remittance companies involved, and made clear to them its expectations that they fully assist the affected emitters."

Remitters may write to MAS through if they require assistance to contact the remittance companies, for reasons such as the remittance companies not being responsive to remitter’s queries or to provide feedback on the remittance companies.

"MFA has gotten in touch with the PRC embassy to highlight the situation, and urged it to reach out to and do what it can to help the workers," added the statement.

The police also gave a reminder that organising or participating in a public assembly without a police permit in Singapore is an offence.

"In this regard, while we understand the frustration and anxiety of the affected PRC workers, the Police will not hesitate to take enforcement action against anyone who breaks the law in Singapore, including by participating in an illegal assembly," said the statement.

Chinese-language daily Lianhe Zaobao quoted customers as saying that about 1,000 Chinese nationals are affected, with around 30 million yuan (S$5.6 million) in funds involved.

The customers added that more than 100 people visited the Police Cantonment Complex on Nov 19 to lodge reports.

Crowds have also gathered at the Chinese Embassy in Singapore and at remittance companies in Chinatown to seek assistance, reported Shin Min Daily News.