Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hot Money, Greased Palms

So last Friday's lunch time stabbing in broad daylight at Raffles Place was a occupational hazard, we are told. Apparently the victim was just another money courier, en route to the Arcade where bags of currencies are freely interchanged. Suhardi, a 26 year old Indonesian, was killed in August 2012, presumably for carrying one load too many for the money changers.

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.


  1. "when the real police are turninga blind eye......", unquote.
    But, they will last their sirens to signal they are arriving too.

  2. Apology.

    But, they will BLAST their siren too.

    Anon 7:28pm

  3. Is Certis Cisco the only security agency that has a gun permit for its security guards?
    Who owns Certis Cisco?

    1. Ha Ha, big shareholder is Tamasek.

  4. I wonder how many $10,000 Singapore notes are in circulation. This is about 80 times the value of the largest US dollar note at $100. It is the world's largest (another 1st!!) legal note in circulation. Why would anyone carry $10,000 bills in legitimate businesses? I'm pretty sure Singapore is the money laundering center of the world.

  5. Laws, regulations are created but are enforced only when it suits a purpose like running opposition in:

    Trade fair permit
    Town council financial statements

    And also to lay claim that

    " We have laws to address treatments of employees, workers. Any employer who flout them will face the consequences. The public can call MoM at......... and we will look into the matter."

    Vandalism Act was created for the sole purpose of a political strategy.

    One man, his ideas and a whole troupe of primates follow the urine trail.... " my kingdom for another 90 years!"

    Heaven forbid.

  6. We don't need the service of the Yakuza lah. We have our own Mafia which provides all sorts of services. "Singapore has a China Wall," said Sarawak lawyer Alvin Chong. No prize for guessing who built this Wall.

  7. Walau eh, the way Singaporeans scorn at the Father and Son, where got hope for the future of Sin.
    One worked for Japanese imperial murderers and the Younger One works for foreigners, Singaporeans get screw all the way.

  8. Switzerland Prepares A "Living Wage" Of $2,600 For Every Citizen
    Switzerland could soon be the world’s first national case study in basic income. Instead of providing a traditional social net - unemployment payments, food stamps, or housing credits - the government would pay every citizen a fixed stipend.
    The proposed plan would guarantee a monthly income of CHF 2,500, or about $2,600 as of November 2014;
    meaning every Swiss family can expect an unconditional yearly income of $62,400 without having to work, with no strings attached. What could go wrong?

    The real Swiss standard of living.

  9. I am reminded of this incident few years back when someone pulled the rug off the floor. I guess the hot money these days come from money changers? But isn't there a report that says SG has seen an increase/addition of Ultra High Networth. Individual (UHNI) ?