Gambler fined over movement of $1.6m in cash over 4 years

Amir Hussain
Senior Reporter
Wardoyo Suro Wijoyo, 59, pleaded guilty to four out of 37 charges of moving cash in excess of the prescribed amount without declaring it. (Photo: Getty)

SINGAPORE — An immigration officer at Changi Airport who scanned a tourist’s bag found a large sum of undeclared money, including $40,000 in Singapore dollars, a district court heard on Thursday (12 December).

When confronted by the officer, the Indonesian man admitted having carried vast sums of cash through Changi Airport without declaration. Over 37 occasions spanning four years, Wardoyo Suro Wijiyo, 59, moved $1.6 million in total in and out of the country.

Asked by District Judge Marvin Bay why he was carrying large sums in cash, Wardoyo said, “I play in casino.”

At the State Courts on Thursday, Wardoyo was fined $16,000 after he pleaded guilty to four out of 37 charges of moving cash in excess of the prescribed amount ($20,000) without declaring it.

The prosecution said there was no evidence of “untowardly links” to the $1.6 million. The money was also traced to Wardoyo’s gambling at casinos here.

Stopped for routine check

On 28 June, Wardoyo arrived in Singapore from Indonesia and was stopped for a routine check by an immigration officer.

The officer asked if Wardoyo had anything to declare but he replied in the negative.

But the officer found $40,000 in Singapore currency and 11,485,000 rupiah (about $7,500) in Wardoyo’s bag. The money was confiscated.

The prescribed amount that people may move in and out of Singapore without declaration is $20,000.

Between 3 April 2015 and 28 June, Wardoyo carried sums ranging between $23,100 and $100,000 through Changi Airport. The total sum involved across all his charges is $1.6 million.

In mitigation, Wardoyo told the court via a translator, “I’m very sorry for my offences. Please impose the lightest fine. I would like the money that has been confiscated to be returned to me.”

Judge Bay agreed with Deputy Public Prosecutor Kenneth Chin that there was a need to impose a deterrent sentence to discourage undocumented movements of large amounts of money.

The judge ordered Wardoyo’s money to be returned to him after the fine is paid.

The maximum punishment for each of Wardoyo’s charges is a fine of up to $50,000 or up to three years’ jail.

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