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Director of Yuk Tung Energy under 15-week jail sentence, due to obstruction of justice over DPRK related offences

08 Jun 2022

The Director of Singapore-based oil trading and bunkering firm Yuk Tung Energy Pte Ltd (YTE) on Tuesday (7 June) received a 15-week jail sentence from a Judge at the State Courts of Singapore.

Manfred Low Cheng Jing pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice charges related to an illegal ship-to-ship (STS) gasoil transaction between the YTE-owned MT Yuk Tung and DPRK-registered Rye Song Gang 1 which took place around 20 January 2018.

After finding out local and international media, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, releasing details of the transaction, Manfred travelled to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 25 January 2018, according to court documents obtained by Manifold Times.

Meanwhile back in Singapore, another Director of YTE removed all physical documents relating to his company and relocated a computer used for day-to-day accounting purposes from the office. The computer was eventually disposed at an unknown dumpster in Singapore.

These actions prevented a full investigation by Singapore’s Commercial Affair Department (CAD) into the offence as the unit was unable to retrieve other relevant information and documents pertaining to YTE’s business transactions from the computer after a raid on 2 February 2018.

Further, during investigations, Manfred initially lied to CAD that his mobile phone and laptop were destroyed in January 2018 after a car ran over his bag containing the items. Subsequently, he admitted the mobile phone that contained information relevant to CAD’s investigations into YTE’s operations was disposed.

The above developments resulted in the Singapore Government not being able to provide full details to the United Nationals Panel of Experts which sought information regarding the case.

As a result, it has negatively impacted Singapore’s international reputation and commitment to upholding Singapore’s international obligations under relevant UNSC resolutions, says an Impact Statement written by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

(a) The offence frustrated the Singapore authorities’ ability to complete its investigations into the potential violation of the longstanding sanctions against the DPRK as required under international law especially during a period when the DPRK conducted several missile tests which threatened international and regional security;

(b) The offence subjected Singapore to international scrutiny and criticism, and raised questions from our international partners about Singapore’s commitment to upholding our legal obligations under the relevant UNSCRS as required under international law;

(c) The offence casted a negative light on Singapore’s reputation as a clean, trusted, and law-abiding jurisdiction for legitimate commercial activity; and

(d) The offence increased risks for broader Singapore financial and economic sectors following designation of a Singapore-registered entity YTE in the UN Sanctions List which impacts on how other Singapore companies are perceived in the global market.

On 30 March 2018, MT Yuk Tung and YTE were added to the UN Sanctions List where they became “designated persons” subject to sanctions under the DPRK Regulations as well as the Monetary Authority of Singapore (Sanctions and Freezing of Assets of Persons – Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) Regulations 2016.

Related: UN Security Council: 22 shipping firms, 27 vessels blacklisted
Related: Singapore oil trading, bunkering firm added to US sanctions list


Photo credit: Manifold Times
Published: 8 June, 2022

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