S$400,000 confiscated from moneychanger who did not declare full sum of almost S$2m when


SINGAPORE: An employee of a Malaysian money-changing company tried to carry almost S$2 million into Singapore without fully declaring it.

Bryan Woo Kah Hou, a 26-year-old Malaysian, was fined S$30,000 (US$22,500) in November for his offences of conspiring to move cash into Singapore exceeding S$20,000.

On Thursday (Feb 1), a court ordered S$400,000 of the seized sum to be forfeited to the state. The remainder was returned to Woo.

According to a police news release on Friday, Woo had declared to an Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officer on Jun 20, 2023 that he was carrying a sum of 468,000 Brunei dollars (US$351,000) and S$37,500.

Woo knew that this was not true and that he was carrying a much larger sum. He then submitted another form to the ICA officer, saying he was carrying a sum of S$135,000 and about 1.83 million Brunei dollars.

However, investigations revealed that this form was also inaccurate. 

Woo was in fact carrying more than 1.95 million Brunei dollars and over S$25,000, a total value equivalent to S$1,979,053.

The cash was seized as part of investigations. Woo pleaded guilty in November to two counts under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act for moving cash into Singapore exceeding S$20,000 without accurately and fully reporting the amount.

A third charge was considered in sentencing.

This was Woo’s second time committing such an offence. In June 2023, he had submitted a false declaration on arrival in Singapore that he was carrying 428,000 Brunei dollars and S$30,000, when he was actually carrying about S$1 million.

The prosecution applied for a confiscation order on Thursday, asking for S$400,000 to be confiscated from the seized cash.

The court granted this application.

In a statement, Commercial Affairs Department director David Chew said the cross-border cash reporting regime is one of Singapore’s measures to curb money-laundering, terrorist financing and other criminal activities.

“All travellers should do their part, including money service businesses be it regulated in Singapore or elsewhere, by making full and accurate cash movement declarations,” said Mr Chew.

He said all travellers who are arriving in or departing from Singapore must make a report of the physical movement in and out of Singapore of any currency exceeding S$20,000, or its equivalent foreign currency.

The report must contain full and accurate information, and failure to do so is an offence drawing penalties of a maximum three years’ jail, a maximum fine of S$50,000, or both.



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