S'porean woman admits to buying restricted properties for 3 Chinese nationals

The prosecution is seeking a month's jail for her.

Matthias Ang | December 15, 2021, 04:00 PM

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A Singaporean woman has admitted in court to buying three landed properties for three Chinese nationals, with the intention of transferring ownership of said landed properties to them once they obtained Singapore citizenship, CNA reported.

Song Fanrong pleaded guilty to one charge of purchasing a restricted property with the intention of holding it in trust for a foreigner on Dec. 14.

Two other similar charges were also taken into consideration.

Acted as a nominee for the three men

According to The Straits Times (ST)Song is a naturalised citizen and former pre-school owner, who is now an undischarged bankrupt.

Between September 2014 and November of the same year, she had acted as a nominee for the three Chinese nationals to purchase properties in Belgravia Villas at Ang Mo Kio.

The trio includes Chen Xiaopu, who was charged in court on Dec. 13 for appointing Song as a nominee to purchase a restricted property in September 2014 and hold it in trust for him.

The other two men are Wang Chen and Liu Guohui.

Received S$1.8 million from one of the men to make payment

In the case of Wang, the court heard that Song got to know him in 2013, and that she had recommended Belgravia Villas to him, after he told her of his intention to emigrate from China to Singapore and own his own home here.

CNA quoted Deputy Public Prosecutor Hon Yi who said that Belgravia Villas is not a non-restricted residential property under the Residential Property Act.

Song had offered to help Wang buy the property on his behalf and transfer ownership of it to him, once he became a Singaporean citizen, on the grounds that he required government approval to buy the properties, as a foreigner.

Wang then accepted the offer and signed an agreement with Song which said that she was simply the trustee while he was the actual buyer and owner.

Afterwards, Wang transferred S$1.8 million to Song's bank account in China. This money was then used as partial payment to the developer of Belgravia Villa, Fairview Developments, for a unit which had a total cost of S$3.48 million.

Song also bought two more units at Belgravia Villa for both Chen and Liu. Both of them also provided funds to her for the purchase while held she held the properties in her name.

All three of them eventually defaulted on their payments on their sale and purchase agreements when they stopped making progressive payments.

Prosecution seeking to confiscate S$1.6 million surrendered by developer

In August 2017, the Singapore Land Authority sent a report to the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) to highlight that she had purchased four units at Belgravia Villas which were restricted properties.

Following the default of the three men on their agreements, Fairview Developments deducted the contractual penalties for the payments that had already been made through Song.

The remaining S$1.6 million paid by the three men through Song was then surrendered by the developer and seized by CAD in January 2018.

The prosecution is now seeking to confiscate the sum of S$1.6 million, and has asked for an imprisonment term of one month for Song, for suggesting being a nominee on behalf of the three men, despite knowing that they could not buy these properties.

As for Song's lawyer, he was quoted by ST as asking for an imprisonment term of less than a month as Song did not profit from the purchases, and her only intention was to hold the properties in trust until the three men obtained their Singaporean citizenship.

Song will return to court on January 5, 2022, to be sentenced. She faces a fine of up to S$100,000, a jail term of up to three years, or both.

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Top collage left image via screenshot from Google streetview, right photo by Matthias Ang