SINGAPORE - You could say that Chinese businessman Zhang Jie was on a roll when he stepped into the Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) casino in October. After three days, he emerged with a staggering $4.6 million in winnings.
Rushing to catch a flight to Thailand on the afternoon of Oct 9 for a business meeting, the 45-year-old stuffed nearly $1 million in cash into two bags and headed directly to Changi Airport from the casino. That was when his luck ran out.
Zhang was arrested at about 3pm in Terminal 1, after an airport security officer found $933,870 in Singapore currency and NT$10,000 (S$420) in the two bags he had with him. The money was seized from him.
Under the law, those entering or leaving Singapore with more than $30,000 must declare it to the authorities.
On Thursday, Zhang was fined $20,000 for the crime. He could have been fined up to $50,000 or jailed for up to three years.
Asking for no jail term to be imposed, defence counsel Chandrayogan Yogarajah said that his client, a frequent visitor to Singapore for the past 10 years, was unaware of the regulations.
"He made no effort to conceal the money," said the lawyer, who added that the Chinese national was a man of good character.
But Deputy Public Prosecutor Hon Yi told the court that RWS casino employees had reminded Zhang to heed the regulations on the movement of currency.
In imposing the fine, District Judge Lee Poh Choo noted that such currency restrictions are common in many countries and Zhang had to be aware of these regulations.
Zhang paid the fine on Thursday and the money seized from him was ordered to be returned.
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