Overseas calls from Malaysian phone number to Singapore 'traceable,' Singtel representative reveals

Amala Balakrishner

SINGAPORE (Oct 21): A representative from Singapore Telecommunications has revealed that calls made through Malaysian phone numbers to Singapore are “traceable”.

Testifying at the trial of John Soh Chee Wen and Quah Su-Ling, the alleged masterminds behind the 2013 penny stock crash, prosecution witness Yeo Poh Meng shed light on the traceability of foreign calls made on Singtel’s network.

As Singtel’s Customer Service Executive Officer – a role she has held for more than 10 years – Yeo is responsible for responding to requests for call screenings and call tracings from law enforcement agencies.

In her conditioned statement, Yeo said she received requests from the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to screen certain phone numbers, individuals and entities, and furnish details of any calls and SMS messages, including both local and overseas communications.

Under cross-examination by Soh’s defence counsel led by senior counsel N Sreenivasan of K&L Gates Straits Law, Yeo could not clearly recall the date she received the requests from CAD and MAS. However, she said this was sometime in the second half of 2013.

The requests were then delegated to her subordinates in her six-member team. Yeo submitted the data to the authorities once it was obtained.

However, she stressed that none of the records provided by Singtel capture the contents of the SMS messages or phone calls made and received.

During cross-examination by Quah’s lawyer, Philip Fong of Eversheds Harry Elias, Yeo also revealed that she had no idea that her presence in court on Monday was to give evidence against Soh and Quah.

Earlier in the day, during examination-in-chief by deputy public prosecutor Loh Hui Min, Yeo was shown a set of tables and identified the columns corresponding to the customer’s phone number, time of call or message sent or received, duration of call or voice message, and the type of SIM card used for the call.

Yeo also referred to a document in Singtel’s monthly billing records that detailed calls made by the customer’s mobile number outside Singapore through the AutoRoam function.

Also taking the stand on Monday was Choo Lee Lee, an associate director at UOB Kay Hian’s Credit Control Department.

During examination-in-chief by DPP Loh, Choo elaborated on the broking house’s procedures in settling transactions, closing off cash accounts and doing know-your-customer (KYC) checks.

Choo also noted that the bank uses a certain “CARS” system, but could not recall what the acronym stood for.

Choo added that UOB Kay Hian’s compliance department sent out frequent circulars reminding trading representatives of the need to obtain third-party authorisation.

The trial resumes Tuesday, where the defence counsels will cross-examine Choo, particularly on the share price movements and trades done on Aug 26 and Sept 20, 2013.

What the 2013 Penny Stock Crash trial is about

John Soh Chee Wen is the alleged mastermind behind the penny stock crash of 2013, which prosecutors have called “the most audacious, extensive and injurious market manipulation scheme ever in Singapore”.

Together with his alleged co-conspirator and girlfriend Quah Su-Ling, Soh and his associates are alleged to have been behind the massive rise and sudden collapse of shares in Blumont Group, LionGold Corp and Asiasons Capital (now Attilan Group), which wiped out some $8 billion in market value.

Subscribers can click here to read our 8-page special pullout on the penny stock crash trial.

Don’t miss out on these highlights in the penny stock saga so far:

Second tranche of witnesses (starting Oct 1, 2019)

First tranche of witnesses (March 11, 2019 to May 24, 2019)