2 top execs at coffeeshop operator Kimly arrested by CAD, released on bail

Janet Ong
Finance Editor
Lim Hee Liat, who is Kimly’s executive chairman, and Chia Cher Khiang, the company’s executive director, were arrested by the Commercial Affairs Department on Tuesday (4 December). (PHOTO: Getty Images)

Two top executives at coffeeshop operator Kimly were arrested by the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) on Tuesday (4 December).

Lim Hee Liat, who is Kimly’s executive chairman, and Chia Cher Khiang, the company’s executive director, have since been released on bail, said the company in a statement to the Singapore Exchange (SGX) issued late that day.

The pair were “released on bail after being arrested for having been concerned, or reasonably suspected of being involved in, an offence under Section 199 of the Securities and Futures Act,” said the company.

“They continue to assist in investigations, and no formal charges have been made against them by the authorities,” the statement added. The company also said that it would continue to keep shareholders updated on any developments in the matter.

Singapore’s largest traditional coffeeshop operator

Founded in 1990, Kimly is the largest traditional coffeeshop operator in Singapore and was listed on the Catalist board of the SGX on 20 March 2017. It operates a chain of 67 food outlets and 129 food stalls under various brands.

Kimly said in an exchange filing on 29 November that it was backing out on its S$16 million acquisition of drinks manufacturer Asian Story Corp, which had been announced in July.

A separate statement that same day said both companies had received letters from the CAD and the Monetary Authority of Singapore a week earlier asking for documents and equipment, in relation to a potential offence under the Securities and Futures Act.

Lim and Chia were also asked to surrender their passports on 29 November.

The authorities asked Kimly for documents relating to it initial public offering, the acquisition of ASC, as well as its corporate secretarial records dating back to 1 January 2016. They also asked for IT equipment used by Lim and Chia, and former non-executive director Ong Eng Sing, who is also the former chief executive of Pokka International.