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Singapore invokes foreign interference law against naturalised citizen

Singapore invokes foreign interference law against naturalised citizen

Monday, February 05, 2024, 15:47 GMT+7
Singapore invokes foreign interference law against naturalised citizen
A view of the Parliament House next to the central business district in Singapore. Photo: Reuters

SINGAPORE -- Singapore has designated a 59-year-old businessman as a "politically significant person" under a law on foreign interference that is being used for the first time.

The man, Chan Man Ping Philip, is a Singapore citizen who was born in Hong Kong.

In a media statement on Friday, the home affairs ministry said: "The Registrar has assessed that Chan has shown susceptibility to be influenced by foreign actors, and willingness to advance their interests."

"The Registrar has assessed that Chan’s activities are directed towards a political end in Singapore, and that it is in the public interest for countermeasures under FICA (Foreign Interference (Countermeasures) Act) to be applied to Chan."

Chan declined to comment. He is the first person to be dealt with under the foreign interference law that came into force in July 2022.

While the government did not say which foreign country's interest Chan was pushing in Singapore, Chan was among 30 overseas Chinese who in March last year attended the annual session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference in Beijing, a largely ceremonial advisory body of China's parliament.

At the time, he told local media that representatives from the overseas Chinese community should form an "alliance" and "tell the China story well".

In 2019, Chan was warned for facilitating a gathering at a restaurant he owns to discuss the Hong Kong anti-government protests, reported the Straits Times. Chan retains ties with Hong Kong as the president of the Hong Kong Singapore Business Association.

He is the managing director of Singapore's Wen Way Investments Pte Ltd, the real estate investment arm of Shenzhen-headquartered Amer International Group.

As a "politically significant person", Chan must disclose annually political donations of S$10,000 or more that he receives and accepts, foreign affiliations and migration benefits.

"These transparency requirements would help to detect and prevent any foreign interference directed towards a political end in Singapore," said the home affairs ministry.

Reuters

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