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Real estate agent charged with not reporting suspicious transaction for Upper Serangoon condo unit

SINGAPORE — A 42-year-old real estate agent was charged on Wednesday (Oct 20) with failing to lodge a suspicious transaction report over the purchase of an S$886,000 condominium unit in Upper Serangoon five years ago.

Real estate agent charged with not reporting suspicious transaction for Upper Serangoon condo unit

The property transaction in question involved a unit at Kingsford Waterbay Singapore in Upper Serangoon.

  • Charles Tan Chun Peng, 42, currently faces three charges
  • The PropNex Realty agent allegedly collected S$44,300 as a deposit for the purchase of a condominium unit in 2016
  • However, the buyer was an undischarged bankrupt and the co-buyer was aged under 21
  • Tan took a photograph of more than S$30,000 in cash that the buyer had handed him, captioning it with “cannot see the light” in Mandarin
  • He indicated his intention to plead guilty when he returns to court in December

 

SINGAPORE — A 42-year-old real estate agent was charged on Wednesday (Oct 20) with failing to lodge a suspicious transaction report over the purchase of an S$886,000 condominium unit in Upper Serangoon five years ago.

The transaction that PropNex Realty agent Charles Tan Chun Peng oversaw involved a unit at Kingsford Waterbay Singapore.

In a statement on Tuesday, the police said they received a complaint in August last year that an option-to-purchase for the sale and purchase of the unit had been rescinded.

This was because the buyer was an undischarged bankrupt, while the co-buyer was aged below 21. Undischarged bankrupts are allowed to buy only one Housing and Development Board flat.

According to court documents, the buyer was Mr Ho Ah Leng and the co-buyer was his son, Mr Harold Ho Kuo Lung. Their ages were not stated.

In October 2016, Tan allegedly collected a total of S$44,300 as a deposit for the property purchase in the Hos’ name.

Tan purportedly had reasonable grounds to suspect that the sum came from the older Mr Ho’s criminal conduct, but did not inform a suspicious transaction reporting officer about this, court documents stated.

WHAT ALLEGEDLY TOOK PLACE

The police, who did not identify the Hos by name, said in their statement that the buyer’s ex-wife had informed Tan about the buyer being an undischarged bankrupt who operated illegal gambling dens in Geylang.

Previous media reports stated that Mr Harold Ho was arrested in Geylang in July 2015 on suspicion of promoting illegal gambling.

The police said that it all started when Mr Ho Ah Leng told Tan he would pay the 5 per cent booking fee of S$44,300 for the condo unit in cash because he did not have a bank account.

Tan then purportedly collected S$11,000 from Mr Ho Ah Leng on the spot, depositing this sum in the joint bank account he held with his wife. He also agreed to collect the remaining S$33,300 the next day — Oct 19, 2016.

He went over to Mr Ho Ah Leng’s home, collected S$32,300 in a plastic bag, took a photograph of the bag and sent it to another real estate agent, according to the police.

“The photograph was accompanied with Mandarin words which literally translate to mean ‘cannot see the light’, but colloquially used to mean ‘shady’,” the police added.

Tan is then said to have deposited this sum in three tranches on Oct 19, 2016 into the joint bank account, before handing the developer — Kingsford Property Development — a cheque as planned.

A few days later, Mr Ho Ah Leng’s ex-wife told Tan about him being an undischarged bankrupt and running illegal gambling dens, the police said.

She then asked for the purchase to be voided and the money to be returned. It is unclear if Tan complied.

Tan now faces three charges — one for failing to disclose his suspicion of the transaction, and two under the Estate Agents Act for holding transaction money on behalf of a developer for the sale or purchase of a property.

He indicated his intention to plead guilty, and will return to court on Dec 1.

If convicted under the Estate Agents Act, he could be jailed for up to six months or fined up to S$10,000, or both.

If convicted under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act, he could be fined up to S$20,000.

After amendments to the Act took effect in 2019, those convicted of committing the offence can now be jailed for up to three years or fined up to S$250,000, or both. Tan’s alleged offences pre-date these amendments.

Related topics

court crime property market suspicious transaction

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