Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Sunday, May 24, 2015
A philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist, George Santayana once said "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it". And yes, it does still ring true. In this case, it's about ponzi scheme (again?) in Singapore. Featuring one dramatic Ms. Leong Lai Yee who is understandably vanishing but not before telling her conned 'investors' that their money was gone and that she wanted to take her own life. Right. As if it will make her victims happy?!
Seriously. What is it about ponzi scheme in Singapore? Just try to google for "ponzi scheme" and there's an auto keyword showing "ponzi scheme in Singapore". Some of the top findings show "Sunshine Empire", "3 Biggest Ponzi Schemes in Singapore" and "5 Red Flags To Spot A Ponzi Scheme".
Greed may indeed blind you, but I guess if one can just remember the principle of "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn't", one should do alright.
From Straits Times, "Investors caught in '$60m ponzi scam'".
It started out as a sweet deal involving the buying and selling of properties in Singapore's choicest districts, promising around 30 per cent returns.
Now, around 60 investors have come forward to claim they have been duped in what could be a multi-million-dollar ponzi scam.
The investors said the alleged mastermind behind the elaborate scheme, Ms Leong Lai Yee, owes investors more than $60 million in capital alone.
They also told The Sunday Times that the woman, who is in her 50s, cut off contact with them last weekend, but not before telling them that their money was gone and she wanted to take her own life.
At least 10 investors have lodged police reports. The police said in response to queries: "It is inappropriate to comment on investigations."
The scheme may have started unravelling only last year, but it has been going on some 15 years.
Through the period, Ms Leong allegedly hooked more than 100 investors with her promise of a virtually no-risk programme.
On the "advice" of a banker, she would buy distressed properties in Orchard, Tanglin and Newton, which are on the verge of being repossessed by banks, and sell them to buyers in China for a profit.
Investors who pumped in money to fund the purchase of these distressed properties were promised returns ranging from 10 per cent to 48 per cent over a period of four to eight months, they said.
They were also told that the eventual buyers would place a 40 per cent downpayment on the property, which would be forfeited if these buyers backed out. This would be enough to pay the profits promised to investors.
The Sunday Times was shown business agreements between investors and Ms Leong guaranteeing their capital and pro-rated profit. The money which investors pumped in ranged from $10,000 to more than $2 million.
Those who referred friends were also given a cut, which could be anywhere from 1 per cent to as much as half of the new funds.
One investor, who gave her name only as Madam J. Tan, said Ms Leong claimed to be marketing high-end condominiums in Singapore's Districts 9, 10 and 11, although there were never any documents to prove this.
"We just trusted her because of the testimonies of those who knew her for a long time," said the 50-year-old, who put in $1 million and introduced several friends to the programme.
Among the investors were retirees and housewives like Madam Tan.
She said Ms Leong had urged people to withdraw their Central Provident Fund savings, borrow from their insurance policies or take a second mortgage on their properties to free up cash to invest.
Several investors were with the scheme for over 10 years, while the latest joined just last month.
Ms Leong, who was known to friends as Adeline, built up trust and goodwill over the years, even inviting investors over for Chinese New Year parties at her well-decorated semi-detached house in Tanah Merah.
"She is someone who sits down together with you, laughs, goes for dinner, holidays in Thailand and Hong Kong together with you. Will you suspect anything?" said a 58-year-old businessman who gave his name only as Mr S. Goh.
He had gotten to know Ms Leong in 2001, and together with friends and relatives poured more than $2 million into the scheme. He also put returns and referral fees back in as investments.
"There were never any problems. There were even people who pulled out early and got their capital and pro-rated returns back," he said, explaining why no alarm bells went off for so many years.
It appeared to be only in the past few years that things started going wrong and Ms Leong tried to raise more funds by offering higher returns of 35 per cent for a six-month contract.
This bears the hallmark of a ponzi scheme, in which fresh funds from new investors are used to pay those who joined earlier.
Last September, several investors received a text message from Ms Leong saying she would pay them only in December, but with additional interest.
A week later, she postponed payment to March 9. She told investors then she was trying to negotiate a $70 million deal that would allow her to repay everyone.
When March 9 came, payments were pushed to May 18.
Four days before the deadline, investors were asked for their addresses so they could be sent invoices. But instead of invoices, some of them later received a letter from Ms Leong in which she said she would kill herself.
She and her husband have been uncontactable since, investors said. Attempts by The Sunday Times to call her were unsuccessful.
Ms Chan Shwe Ching, an investor, began legal proceedings against Ms Leong last month. Her lawyer Michael Chia said the courts have allowed an injunction to freeze Ms Leong's assets within Singapore.
Ms Alina Sim, who is still Ms Leong's lawyer on record, said she was not at liberty to discuss the case.
Around 30 people have also hired a lawyer to launch a civil suit against Ms Leong, said an investor who gave his name as Mr Ong.
Mr Goh said he had dinner with Ms Leong just last month. Now, he and the other investors are hoping her family and the public will help to locate her.
"This is not a Korean drama, it is real," he said ruefully. "There are real people, real families involved."
Thursday, May 14, 2015
According to BTI, "Frasers Centrepoint: Launches First Retail Bond Offering": Interest rate of 3.65% per year, with minimum application amount of S$2,000. Public Offer opens from 9.00 am on 13 May 2015, closes at 12 noon on 20 May 2015...
Interesting? Definitely! But why 3.65%? Is it because 1 year has 365 days? If only it's based by the leap year (that has 366 days) so we'd be having an interest rate of 3.66%? Heh.
If only the figure is based on other planetary definition of a year. For example: Jupiter has more than ten thousand days in its year. So the bond will then offer the interest rate of at least, 100%? Hmm...how one will wish.
Back to the serious stuff (and I am glad I finally blogged something other than Amos Yee), the offer details of the bond is available for download here.
When I go through online reading more about this bond. I noted many are curious about the interest payment date. From the prospectus, it says that the interest payment dates of the Bonds fall on 22 May and 22 November in each year. The first interest payment date is 22 November 2015 and the last interest payment date is 22 May 2022, being the Maturity Date .
Do go through the prospectus in detail. It's only 175 pages. Heh. No, seriously especially the part on "RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH AN INVESTMENT IN THE BONDS" from page 33 to page 37.
The highlights of the risks are as follows:
- The Bonds may not be suitable for certain investors
- There may be a change in the law governing the Terms and Conditions of the Bonds
- The Terms and Conditions of the Bonds and provisions of the Trust Deed may be modified
- There is no assurance that the Issuer and/or the Guarantor will have sufficient cash flow to meet payment obligations under the Bonds and/or the Guarantee
- There is no prior market for and there is limited liquidity of the Bonds
- The market value of the Bonds may be subject to fluctuation
- An investment in the Bonds is subject to interest rate risk
- An investment in the Bonds is subject to inflation risk
- The Bonds may not be “qualifying debt securities” throughout their tenor
- Consequences of non-availability of definitive bond certificates in respect of the Bonds
- The performance of contractual obligations by the Issuer and/or the Guarantor is dependent on other parties
- Legal investment considerations may restrict certain investments
- Securityholders are exposed to financial risks
- Exchange rate risks and exchange controls may result in Bondholders receiving less interest or principal than expected
- An affiliate of the Issuer or the Guarantor may purchase a majority of the Bonds and (if it is not a non-listed subsidiary of the Issuer or the Guarantor) be able to exercise certain rights and powers on its own which will be binding on all holders of the Bonds. Additionally, this may reduce the liquidity of the Bonds in the secondary trading market
- The Bonds are subject to optional redemption by the Issuer and may have a lower market value than other debt securities that cannot be redeemed
Do go through in more details for the above risks (read. the. prospectus.) & assess whether you're comfortable with the risks before opting to subscribe to the bonds.
Property developer and manager Frasers Centrepoint Limited is offering seven-year bonds of up to S$200 million at par to yield 3.65 per cent.From Straits Times, "Frasers Centrepoint offers $200 million seven-year bonds at 3.65%".
Of the total, it is selling $150 million to the public and $50 million to institutional investors.
DBS is sole bookrunner and underwriter of $50 million of the offering, if subscriptions fall short when the offer ends on May 20.
The issuer said it might cancel the offering if it received orders of less than $75 million, and could also increase it to as much as $500 million if the demand was good.
Frasers Centrepoint (FCL) plans to raise S$200 million from a bond issue which will be offered to both retail and institutional investors.From Channel NewsAsia, "Frasers Centrepoint raising S$200m from bond issue".
The seven-year bonds will carry a fixed interest rate of 3.65 per cent a year and will be issued by its subsidiary FCL Treasury. Up to S$150 million worth of bonds will be offered to the public and another S$50 million will be made available to institutional and other investors. The bonds will be issued at S$1,000 each and the minimum investment is S$2,000.
FCL said it plans to use the net proceeds for general corporate purposes, which include refinancing existing borrowings, financing investments and general working capital.
FCL listed Frasers Hospitality Trust on the Singapore Exchange in July last year. It has also deepened its presence in Australia with the acquisition of Australand Property Group in October 2014.
I must confess I am getting too much interested in this case involving Amos Yee. Should I renamed this blog to "Amos Yee: Reviewed" then? I mean if the website "Straits Times Review" can change its name to "States Times Review" or possibly next time to change--that is to credit to the site's blogger--"Alex Tan Reviews", I too can rename my blog, can't I?
Nah. On second thought, I won't. Amos Yee despite the obviously being the guilty and the losing part in the whole case is for sure just crying for attention. See his latest antics: he alleged that he had been molested by Vincent Law, the guy who had stepped forward to bail him out. Amos Yee subsequently revealed that it was all a lie. My goodness. Vincent Law must sue him for defamation. Oh, and never ever to post the bail to him anymore!
Without doubt, Amos Yee is playing a role as the boy who cried wolf. Is this as part of his Grand Scheme to be certified "mentally unsound" so that he will escape a harsh punishment when he's sentenced on 2 June?
Hmm...anything is possible, I suspect, if it involves this Amos Yee.
Barely a day after he was convicted and released on bail, teenage blogger Amos Yee alleged that he had been molested by Mr Vincent Law, a family and youth counsellor who had stepped forward to bail him out.From Straits Times, "Amos Yee says ex-bailor molested him, then admits it was all a lie to trick the media".
Then a few hours later, after Mr Law told several media outlets that the allegation was "false", Yee posted again on Facebook to announce that it was all a lie. "Vincent Law didn't really molest me, haha," he wrote. "Though he is immensely creepy. I'll save the specific details for another time."
The 16-year-old admitted that the entire post was "a troll" to trick the media. "I manipulated the press to indulge in the thoroughly exhausting experience of waiting in Pasir Panjang fruitlessly for several hours, which they did with their 'diligence'. They are all quite obscure and hard places to reach in Singapore aren't they?" he wrote just before 9.45pm.
At 2.40pm on Wednesday, Yee had made a lengthy post on Facebook inviting the media to "catch" him as he exited Pasir Panjang MRT station at around 3 or 4pm.
The 16-year-old wrote that if they did, he would "clear the air" and "reveal that little tidbit of information on how (his) ex-bailor, Vincent Law, molested (him)".
When contacted, Mr Law told the Straits Times: "I deny this very serious and false allegation that he has made. I have no idea why he would say that."
Yee's lawyer Alfred Dodwell said that the post took him by surprise.
"He's never communicated this to me or my team."
He said he had not spoken with the teenager since they parted ways on Tuesday, when Yee was found guilty of uploading an obscene image and making remarks intending to hurt the feelings of Christians, after a two-day trial last week.
Yee has since taken down the offending YouTube video and post that got him convicted from his blog.
The blogger was charged in court on March 31, four days after uploading the video criticising the late Mr Lee. A day after he put up the video, he uploaded an image illustrating two people having sex, on which he superimposed the faces of Mr Lee and former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.
Yee will be sentenced on June 2, pending the outcome of a probation report.
On Tuesday, the court reduced the bail sum to $10,000, with no conditions attached. The previous bail amount was $30,000 and as part of his bail terms, Yee was not allowed to post anything online.
of Neo Gim Huah gets 3 weeks' jail for slapping blogger Amos Yee (or why he should be punished to the max!!)
Vigilante justice cannot be condoned. Ever. Full stop. Yes, we do know that is valid not just in fiction (why else we have so many superheroes with their mask on) but also in real life (like what Neo Gim Huah or also known as he who slapped Amos Yee will attest).
I agree that he (Neo Gim Huah) to get a harsher punishment than the 2-week jail that the prosecution had earlier asked. That will teach him better indeed. I mean, c'mon, how stupid one can be?! To slap openly like he did (and without a mask??) and then still ran away? He surely knows at the surveillance camera footage of the area can easily be deployed by the police to track him and it'd be just a matter of time (in this case, about 12 hours) for him to be caught. He might as well just stand his ground after slapping Amos Yee & let the police caught him right away & while this happened at the same place of incident, the rest of journalists would get his 'rationale' right away.
In conclusion, Neo Gim Huah is never about vigilante justice. His (action) was just about his insulting delusion that the criminal justice system will be ineffective against Amos Yee. Recall this part of statement by Neo Gim Huah: "This child is so disobedient that even the elders, parents, police, the court and the society will not have any impact on him."
Neo Gim Huah should therefore be punished to the max that is to be jailed for up to two years AND (not just and/or) fined up to $5,000.
A self-employed man was sentenced to three weeks in jail on Monday for slapping teenage blogger Amos Yee outside the State Courts last month.From Straits Times, "Man gets 3 weeks' jail for slapping blogger Amos Yee".
Neo Gim Huah, 49, was charged in court on Monday. He was not represented and gave a long mitigation plea in Chinese, explaining why he did it. He told the court earlier he wanted to teach Yee a lesson.
Neo, who runs his own air-conditioning and electrical engineering business, said he had taken offence at portions of the video posted online by Yee which he found disrespectful to Singapore's founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.
He closely monitored the case and intended to confront and slap the blogger before his first two court appearances as he felt that the teenager's actions had portrayed Singapore in a negative light.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Winston Man said Neo initially restrained himself and did not confront Yee until his third court appearance on April 30 when he realised the teenager had flouted his bail conditions.
Neo also believed that it would be difficult for the criminal justice system to deal effectively with Yee because of his age.
On the afternoon of April 30, he waited at the State Courts for Yee to arrive. He knew the media was present when he slapped the blogger, and deliberately committed the offence as he wanted the assault to be publicised "so that the world at large would know that the victim was being taught a lesson''.
Neo was arrested at about 2am the next day.
Arguing for a sentence of two weeks' jail, DPP Man said Neo's offence was pre-meditated and featured a strong element of vigilantism, which undermined law enforcement mechanisms and the criminal justice system.
"Public confidence in law enforcement mechanics and the criminal justice system will also be eroded if there is a widespread perception that it is acceptable to take the law into one's own hands and resort to violence in order to address a perceived injustice,'' he said.
Neo said in his mitigation letter that Yee had been disrespectful to Singapore's founding father and insulted him, making all of Mr Lee's contributions "worthless''.
He said Yee, whom he described as a "clever child'', had let everyone down.
"What I feel is what everybody is feeling," he said.
Slapping him would instil fear in the teenager, let him know what the ways of the world are and teach him a lesson, Neo said.
He said he knew it was wrong to slap Yee but could not control himself.
He could be jailed for up to two years and/or fined up to $5,000.
A district judge sentenced the man who slapped blogger Amos Yee outside the State Courts to three weeks’ jail today (May 11), ruling that a custodial sentence was needed to send the message that vigilante justice cannot be condoned.From Today, "Father of 3 who slapped Amos Yee gets 3 weeks’ jail".
What was particularly aggravating about Neo Gim Huah’s offence, said District Judge Ronald Gwee, was that he chose to take matters into his own hands in front of the press, so that the incident would gain maximum publicity.
“The publicising of such unlawful acts, especially in our age of instant and wide publication through social media, could give rise to a lowering of confidence in the rule of law,” the judge said, in convicting Neo of one count of voluntarily causing hurt.
The 49-year-old had set upon Amos two Wednesdays ago, as the teenager was heading towards the State Courts for a hearing into his charges of making offensive remarks against Christianity and circulating obscene imagery. His actions were witnessed by about six to 10 members of the media and the public and clips of the incident subsequently got circulated widely online.
Today, the court heard that Neo decided to “teach (Amos) a lesson” after he took offence at the 16-year-old blogger’s comments about founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in a video clip. A charge was pressed against Amos for his comments about Mr Lee, but it has been stood down for now.
Neo, a father of three who runs his own air-conditioning and electrical engineering business, had initially thought of confronting Amos outside Bedok Police Division, where the teenager was to have reported daily as part of his initial bail conditions.
He decided against this later “as the media would not be present and his actions would not have been visible to anyone”, court documents show.
Neo wanted the assault to be publicised “so that the world at large would know that (Amos) was being taught a lesson”, the court was told.
The police tracked Neo down using surveillance camera footage of the area, and brought him in about 12 hours later. He confessed about the offence during interviews by the police.
Pleading guilty in court today, Neo submitted a long mitigation plea written in Mandarin, in which he acknowledged his mistake and explained his motivations.
This child is so disobedient that even the elders, parents, police, the court and the society will not have any impact on him,” he wrote. “ ... I remember how arrogant he was ... That’s why I thought giving him one slap would instil fear in him, and also let him know what are the ways of the world.”
Pleading to be let off with a fine, Neo added that he is the sole breadwinner of his family, and also apologised for causing hurt to Amos and his parents.
The prosecution had asked for Neo to be jailed for two weeks. But the judge said a deterrent sentence was needed, lest the episode opens the door to future cases of aggrieved individuals acting in similar ways.
Neo’s actions were prompted by his own belief that the criminal justice system “would have difficulties dealing effectively with (Amos) owing to his age”, said Judge Gwee.
Every accused person is entitled due process and will be fairly and justly treated and dealt with, he added.
For voluntarily causing hurt, Neo could have been jailed up to two years and/or fined S$5,000.
Meanwhile, the court is set to deliver its verdict on Amos this afternoon. He had pleaded not guilty to his two charges last week.
Saturday, May 02, 2015
I guess that's the question everyone is wondering right away. Who is the the man who slapped Amos Yee outside the state courts on 30/04/15? As per now, his identity is not revealed yet except that it's reported that the man is 49 years old even though he appeared in his 30s. Hmm. He must be very fit (as he can appear much younger than his actual age), and must have mastered some kind of martial art. Just take a look at the way he nonchalantly approached the unsuspecting Amos Yee & landed a fast slap before swiftly escaping the crime scene while still finding a time to taunt the still shocked Amos Yee with his "sue me, come and sue me" remark.
Take a look at the clip, "Man slaps Amos Yee at State Courts":
The uncanny ability of his masking his bloodlust brings to my mind this particular scene of the Assassination Classroom anime ("Assassination Classroom:Nagisa and Takaoka Assassination Scene"). Heh.
But it's really commendable that the police have promptly caught the suspected
Police have arrested a 49-year-old man in relation to the assault on Amos Yee outside the state courts yesterday (April 30).From Asiaone, "Amos Yee slapped: Police arrest 49-year-old man".
The teenage blogger was on his way to a pre-trial conference yesterday afternoon when a middle-aged man slapped him and then taunted him to "sue me, come and sue me". The man then fled the scene. In a statement today, the police said: "In response to media queries, the Police confirm that a 49-year-old man was arrested in relation to the case. Police investigations are ongoing." The police had earlier confirmed that a report had been lodged about the assault.
Law Minister K Shanmugam had said in a Facebook post yesterday evening that the assault was "unacceptable" and hoped that "the attacker will be caught quickly, and is dealt with appropriately". Yee, 16, was charged on March 31 with several offences, including attacking Christianity in a YouTube video. He has been placed back in remand after the pre-trial conference yesterday, after he flouted his bail conditions by publishing two blog posts. Channel NewsAsia reported that Yee's bailor, youth counsellor Vincent Law, discharged himself.
A 49-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the assault on teen blogger Amos Yee outside the State Courts on Thursday.From Straits Times, "49-year-old man arrested for allegedly attacking Amos Yee".
"In response to media queries, the Police confirm that a 49-year-old man was arrested in relation to the case. Police investigations are ongoing," a police statement said on Friday.
The police had earlier said that a report was made against the man who struck Yee on the face. Videos posted online on Thursday showed a man in a red T-shirt slapping the 16-year-old on the left cheek, startling passers-by, before yelling, "Come and sue me!". The man appeared to be in his 30s.
Yee, who was on his way to attend a pre-trial conference at the State Courts, seemed shocked by the incident. He gripped his face in pain and continued walking into the State Courts building.
Following the incident, Law Minister K. Shanmugam said in a post on his Facebook page that the assault on Yee was "unacceptable".
On March 31, the teenager was charged with attacking Christianity, transmitting an obscene image and making an online video which included offensive remarks about the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew. The prosecution has, for now, stood down the last charge, meaning it could be heard later. It will proceed with charges of him attacking Christianity and transmitting an obscene image.
Yee was remanded on April 17 after the judge at a pre-trial conference converted the $20,000 police bail that he had been on to court bail, requiring bail to be reposted. But his parents decided against posting bail. Yee was later bailed out by family and youth counsellor Vincent Law who was hoping that the teen would be willing to be counselled.
On Thursday, Yee was sent back to to remand in Changi Prison after Mr Law decided to discharge himself. He told The Straits Times that he was forced to do this because Yee refused to comply with bail conditions. Yee had posted on his blog and Facebook page, breaching bail conditions that disallowed him from doing so. On Wednesday, he wrote two blog posts titled "The Ridiculous Terms of my Bail" and "My Abusive Father". He shared them on his Facebook page on Thursday morning.
During his pre-trial conference, which was held in chambers, judge Kessler Soh had asked Yee to take down his latest posts. He refused. The teenager will appear before the court again on Monday, May 4, for another pre-trial conference in which a trial date will be picked.