Detained Vietnamese tycoon gains access to legal counsel in Singapore

Nicholas Yong
Assistant News Editor
Singapore’s Supreme Court building. PHOTO: Yahoo News Singapore

A Vietnamese property developer detained in Singapore has gained access to legal counsel for the first time, almost a week after he was prevented from leaving Singapore at Tuas Checkpoint.

Remy Choo, one of three lawyers acting for Phan Van Anh Vu, told Yahoo News Singapore that he and two colleagues met Vu, 42, for about an hour at the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) building in Lavender on Wednesday afternoon (3 January).

Choo reported that Vu appeared “stressed out” and complained that he was suffering from high blood pressure, as it was still unclear to Vu why he was being detained.

“I’m concerned that he may be deported pending a hearing,” said Choo, who spoke to Vu through an interpreter.

Choo added the authorities told him that the granting of access to Vu didn’t preclude them from exercising their power to deport his client.

A pre-trial conference for Vu’s case has been set for 18 January.

On Tuesday, Choo and his colleagues filed an injunction in the High Court asking the Controller of Immigration for the basis for Vu’s detention, and to prevent his deportation back to Vietnam before the application is heard. Their request for access to their client was granted.

Vu, who is reportedly wanted in Vietnam for revealing state secrets, was detained at Tuas Checkpoint last Thursday as he tried to leave for Malaysia.

In a one-line media statement, the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority said on Tuesday, “Phan Van Anh Vu was arrested on 28 December 2017 for committing offences under the Immigration Act.”

Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security said last month it was seeking the arrest of Vu, a developer in the central city of Danang, where the local leadership was shaken up after corruption accusations last year.

Vu is a former senior member of the Vietnamese intelligence services. He has applied to Germany for asylum.