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3 Cats Can’t Catch a Rat: ICA, EDB and MOM Must Answer for Corrupt PR Oversight

“If 3 cats cannot catch a rat, then it’s time to get a dog in and see if it can do better.”

The Rat

Li Huabo has been sent back to China, and his Singapore PR status has been revoked.

The China national had siphoned S$19 mil from the Chinese government over a period of 5 years, and was convicted in Singapore back in 2013, for receiving some $S240,000 in stolen funds in his Singapore bank account.

Li was a former junior government officer back in Poyang County in Jiangxi Province, working for the finance bureau.

On the side, he was also a small-time businessman, breaking the rules that state government officials mustn’t hold external business appointments.

He fled to Singapore in 2011 – a year after his PR application was approved – and was arrested barely a month after landing on our shores.

Oh yes, Li happened to be one of China’s 100 most wanted economic fugitives, in a list released last month.

The Great Con

The Chinal National had snuck in on the back of the Economic Development Board’s Global Investor Programme (GIP), which is aimed at helping foreigners set up businesses in Singapore.

Contact Singapore, which administers the GIP, is a tie-up between the EDB and Manpower Ministry.

Li had invested S$1.5 million in 2010, and this paved the road for his family’ PR-ship in Singapore.

Apparently, Contact Singapore wasn’t aware that he was a an official back in China – it was under the impression that he was a businessman.

A lowly government official earning 3000 yuan, or S$583 a month never raised alarm bells.


Because he didn’t mention he was a government official during the application process.

Still, Li managed to pass all this criteria for his GIP Application:

(a) You must possess at least 3 years of entrepreneurial and business track record and must produce audited financial statements of your company for the last 3 years.
(b) Your company must only be engaged in one or more of the industries listed in Annex A in the GIP factsheet.
(c) Your company’s turnover must be at least S$50 million in the year immediately preceding your application, and at least S$50 million per annum on average for the three years immediately preceding your application. You should submit the financial statements of your company with the highest turnover. You may also consolidate your businesses, all of which must only be engaged in one or more of the industries listed in Annex A in the GIP factsheet, to meet the minimum turnover criteria.
(d) If your company is privately-held, you should have at least 30% shareholding in the company. Your role in the company, as well as the growth and profitability of your company would be taken into consideration.

And managed to pass all this criteria for ICA’s PR Application:

redwire-singapore-ica-pr-applicationsSo where was the due diligence?

Should one agency slip up, surely the others should have conducted their own independent checks as well?

Were we blind-sided by greed?

Answers are needed.

If 3 cats cannot catch a rat, then it’s time to get a dog in and see if it can do better.

Especially when there’s been more than 300,000 PRs granted from 2007 to 2014.

Surely there must be more stringent checks in place to ensure rogues don’t slip through the net?

Especially ones who are ALREADY being investigated, whether by Singapore or their home countries, while they’re applying to become PRs.

Because every slip-up tarnishes the reputation of Singapore, and it comes at the expense of an honest person who truly wants to take root in our country and help push Singapore forward instead of bring it down.

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