Lawyer for money laundering accused claims Changi prison cannot meet client’s medical needs
A bail review hearing for Su Baolin, an accused in the $2.8 billion money laundering probe, has been postponed to allow the prosecution to check his lawyer’s claims that Changi Prison is not able to meet his medical needs.
Deputy Public Prosecutor R. Arvindren, who applied to adjourn the session, said lawyers for the Cambodian national submitted arguments only on Wednesday morning, just hours before his court hearing at 2.30pm.
Su, 42, faces two charges – one for allegedly using a forged document to show he was the executive director of an import-export company, and a second where he is said to have conspired with ex-Citibank employee Wang Qiming to make a false document with the intention to cheat Standard Chartered Bank.
During the hearing, the DPP summarised the defence’s arguments for bail to be granted, namely that Su suffers from a serious congenital heart condition; he is at a high risk of gastric cancer; the travelling time to the nearest hospital is shorter from his home compared to prison; and that Changi Prison’s Complex Medical Centre (CMC) cannot meet his medical needs.
DPP Arvindren said: “In the defence’s words, the CMC needlessly gambles with the accused’s life. This is a serious allegation that the prosecution will need to check with the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) before responding.”
In response to District Judge Brenda Tan’s query on why the defence submitted arguments only on the morning of the hearing, Su’s lawyer Sunil Sudheesan said his team was in communication with the accused’s doctor and received a few responses on Tuesday.
Urging the judge not to grant an adjournment, Mr Sudheesan said he made clear six weeks ago that the defence would be asking for Su to be released on bail. He added that the prosecution had time to prepare any affidavits necessary.
“It is extremely unfair for the prosecution to ask for more time, given that the accused had been called up for investigations since mid-2021, and the other accused person mentioned in his charge, Wang Qiming, who is also a foreign national, is out on bail,” said Mr Sudheesan, who is from Quahe Woo & Palmer.
The lawyer said Su’s home is a short drive from Gleneagles Hospital, which is in Napier Road. Su was renting a good class bungalow in Nassim Road, which is close to the hospital, when he was arrested on Aug 15.
Nine other foreigners were also arrested that day in the money laundering probe.
Mr Sudheesan proposed for Su to be placed under 24-hour surveillance by Cisco or Aetos officers at his client’s own cost if bail is granted.
The lawyer also suggested having independent Fujian and Mandarin interpreters accompany the security personnel, so that the authorities are alerted immediately if Su concocts a plan to leave Singapore, or colludes with any of the parties involved in the case.
“The court’s main concern is managing the accused’s flight risk and making sure he attends court... The proposed bail conditions would destroy any sort of flight risk,” said Mr Sudheesan.
Judge Tan did not grant Su bail in September, saying there was a real and high flight risk given that the accused owns a condominium in China and has the means to relocate.
She also accepted the prosecution’s arguments then that there was a risk of collusion as Su had refused to divulge the true extent of his relationship with Su Haijin, another suspect in the money laundering case.
On his client’s medical conditions, Mr Sudheesan said CMC and Changi General Hospital do not have three medications required by Su, one of which he needs for his heart condition.
He added that his client was found to be at a high risk of gastric cancer shortly before he was arrested in August 2023.
“The doctor recommended a gastroscopy, which has not been done yet. When it comes to cancer, the faster you find out about it, the better,” he said.
Judge Tan postponed the bail review to Dec 15, saying the prosecution needs to address the court on whether SPS is equipped to handle Su’s medical conditions.