Another frequent Indonesian traveller of the Batam-Singapore-Batam route we met some years ago was ferrying hot money for a different purpose. His employer tasked him to meet politicians and businessmen at posh hotels, where palms are routinely greased. It was Lee Kuan Yew who highlighted the weekend visits of Indonesians who fly in for the shopping on a Saturday, and depart promptly on Sunday night. Maybe he wasn't briefed about the bagmen who might have also indulged in a bit of money laundering.
The important bit is that anyone hand-carrying $20,000 in or out of Singapore is supposed to declare the amounts to the vigilant officers at the customs checkpoints. Failure to do so is an offence under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes Act, punishable by fine up to $50,000 or 3 years' jail. Obviously these money mules are not deterred; the proposed fine for mistreatment of a pet dog is much harsher. Makes you also wonder if the law enforcers are serious about the illicit cash flows.
The Money Changers Association of Singapore is urging its members to hire Certis Cisco guards. Paying protection money to these guys, some of whom are ex-police officers, when the real police are turning a blind eye at the borders? Interestingly, the association's secretary thinks Cisco is asking too much at $200 an hour. Perhaps Ah Loong - the alternate security from "professionals" - offers a more competitive rate. The Yakuza is pretty good at this, we may have need of their foreign expertise.