Man Sentenced for False Trading, Unauthorised Trading and Dishonestly Receiving Stolen Property
Joint News Release by Monetary Authority of Singapore and Singapore Police Force
Singapore, 18 April 2023... On 18 April 2023, Mr Tang Boon Hai was sentenced to 30 months’ imprisonment for conspiring to conduct false trading in the shares of KTL Global Limited (“KTL”), trading using the accounts of other persons without the authorisation of the brokerage firm, and dishonestly receiving stolen property. These are offences under the Securities and Futures Act (“SFA”) and Penal Code (“PC”).
2. On 1 August 2014, SGX introduced the minimum trading price (“MTP”) requirement for issuers listed on the SGX Mainboard. This meant that an issuer’s volume weighted average price (“VWAP”) over a 6-month period from March 2015 cannot fall below $0.20. An issuer that failed to comply with the MTP Requirement could face delisting. The closing price of KTL shares on 1 August 2014 was $0.11 and the 6-month VWAP of KTL shares as at 1 August 2014 was below the minimum price required.
3. From 4 November 2014 to 8 September 2015, Mr Tang placed orders and traded in KTL shares through 14 trading accounts. Mr Tang’s intent was to create a false appearance of active trading in the market for KTL shares. Of these 14 trading accounts, Mr Tang was only authorised to operate one of them; the remaining 13 trading accounts were registered under the names of four other persons. In total, Mr Tang bought approximately 122.76 million KTL shares and sold approximately 120.67 million KTL shares. Of these, more than 70 million KTL shares were bought and sold between trading accounts controlled by Mr Tang.
4. On 20 May 2015, Mr Tang dishonestly received $999,980 in a trading account held by Infinity Global Consultancy Pte Ltd (“Infinity”). Mr Tang was the sole director and shareholder of Infinity. Mr Tang had reason to believe that this money was stolen property. He had used part of the sum to fund his false trading in KTL shares.
5. Mr Tang pleaded guilty to the following charges on 20 March 2023:
• One charge under Section 197(1)(a) of the SFA read with Section 109 of the PC for conspiring to create a false or misleading appearance of active trading in shares of KTL from 4 November 2014 to 8 September 2015;
• Five charges under Section 201(b) of the SFA for trading in KTL shares through the unauthorised use of trading accounts belonging to four other persons with three brokerage firms; and
• One charge under Section 411(1) of the PC for dishonestly receiving a sum of $999,980, which Mr Tang had reason to believe was stolen property.
6. Eight charges under Section 201(b) of the SFA were taken into consideration for the purposes of sentencing.
7. This conviction was the result of a joint investigation conducted by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Commercial Affairs Department of the Singapore Police Force, following a referral by the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Limited. Court proceedings against two other individuals charged in relation to this matter are ongoing
(A) Section 197(1)(a) of the Securities and Futures Act (SFA) at the time of the offences
Under section 197(1)(a) of the SFA, no person shall do any thing, cause any thing to be done or engage in any course of conduct, if his purpose, or any of his purposes, for doing that thing, causing that thing to be done or engaging in that course of conduct, as the case may be, is to create a false or misleading appearance of active trading in any securities on a securities market.
(B) Section 201(b) of the SFA at the time of the offences
Under section 201(b) of the SFA, no person shall, directly or indirectly, in connection with the subscription, purchase or sale of any securities engage in any act, practice or course of business which operates as a fraud or deception, or is likely to operate as a fraud or deception, upon any person.
(C) Section 204(1) of the SFA at the time of the offences
Under section 204(1) of the SFA, any person who contravenes Division 1 of Part XII SFA (which includes sections 197(1)(a) and 201(b)) shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $250,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years or to both.
(D) Section 109 of the Penal Code at the time of the offence
Under section 109 of the PC, whoever abets any offence shall, if the act abetted is committed in consequence of the abetment, and no express provision is made by the PC for the punishment of such abetment, be punished with the punishment provided for the offence.
(E) Section 411(1) of the Penal Code at the time of the offence
Under section 411(1) of the PC, whoever dishonestly receives or retains any stolen property, knowing or having reason to believe the property to be stolen property, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 5 years, or with fine, or with both.