SINGAPORE (Asia News Network): The couple who fled Singapore after allegedly failing to deliver luxury goods, worth at least S$32mil (RM102mil), to customers did so by hiding in the container compartment of a lorry.
The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said this on Wednesday.
In response to queries from The Straits Times, an ICA spokesman said a 40-year-old Malaysian man helped the couple leave Singapore illegally.
An ICA spokesman said the man allegedly hid them in a lorry's container compartment.
He added: "ICA takes a serious view of attempts to enter or depart Singapore illegally and will not hesitate to prosecute offenders for such cases.
"We are working closely with the relevant authorities on this case."
ICA said it conducts checks on all arrivals and adopts a risk management approach for checks on departing conveyances in order to balance smooth departure clearance and border security at the checkpoints.
ICA added: "Departing conveyances may also be directed for further checks based on risk profiling or any information received."
The policesaid on Tuesday they had arrested the Malaysian last week for allegedly helping the couple leave Singapore on July 4.
The man was charged on July 15 with abetting another person to depart Singapore illegally.
The police said it is working closely with foreign law enforcement counterparts to trace the couple and the criminal proceeds.
"Warrants of arrest and Interpol red notices have been issued against the couple," added the police.
At least 180 reports have been lodged against the couple since June.
The victims claimed they had made advance payments for luxury watches or luxury bags to the couple, who failed to deliver them.
The Straits Times spoke to 10 victims, aged between 24 and 52, over the past week and most of them said they trusted the couple as their business was registered as a regulated dealer and had a certificate from Ministry of Law (MinLaw) to prove it.
A MinLaw spokesman had said the business, named Tradenation, was registered as a precious stones and precious metals dealer on April 2.
"Registered dealers are regulated by the Registrar of Regulated Dealers only for anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism purposes," said the spokesman.
At the point of Tradenation's registration, there were no grounds to refuse it, said MinLaw.
But the ministry has now suspended its registration, which can also be terminated if it is found guilty of an offence.