Five remisiers from various brokerages were charged on August 20 for false trading of 55 SGX-listed securities, ranging from Annica Holdings to Rex International.

They are Alan Lee, a former remisier with OCBC Securities, who faces 80 charges for false trading in 55 securities on 80 occasions;

Chew Wei Zhan, a former remisier with DBS Vickers Securities (Singapore), faces 79 charges for false trading in 53 securities on 79 occasions;

Lee Wei Kai, a former remisier with Phillip Securities, faces 61 charges for false trading in 44 securities on 61 occasions;

Lim Ming Yi, a former remisier with Maybank Kim Eng Securities, faces 55 charges for false trading in 41 securities on 55 occasions; and

Lim Ming Chit, a former remisier with Phillip Securities, faces 22 charges for false trading in 19 securities on 22 occasions.

The offences took place mainly in 2015.

The number of companies manipulated as one case is believed to be the largest ever seen. There are around 700 companies listed on the SGX.

In an on-going case of similar nature, John Soh and Quah Su-Ling, alleged masterminds of the October 2013 penny stock crash, are on trial for manipulating shares of just three companies, although several more are believed to be the subject of their scheme. 

If convicted, for each charge, the accused persons face punishment of imprisonment for a term which may extend to a maximum of 7 years, or a fine of up to $250,000, or both.

The investigation was done jointly by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD).

Of the 55 companies whose shares were allegedly manipulated by the five, many of them are in the beleaguered offshore and marine (O&M) sector. 

A couple used to be the darlings of high-flying investors, such as contract manufacturer Huan Hsin Holdings.

There were also quite a handful of S-chips – or Chinese companies listed on SGX – as well, which as a sector, are not exactly favourites among investors here after a long string of business failures and corporate governance breaches over the years.

Several of the companies have since delisted. They include China Yongsheng, Huan Hsin, and Jaya Holdings.

Interestingly, a few of the stocks the five allegedly manipulated are linked to prominent individuals and families.

For example, Sunningdale is chaired by prominent Singapore Inc corporate figure Koh Boon Hwee, while Secura counts former Remisier King Peter Lim as one of the significant shareholders. 

PACC Offshore, which was privatised recently, is controlled by the tycoon Robert Kuok's family. 

Property developer Singhaiyi is controlled by the power Tang couple who are also substantial shareholders in other entities such as Suntec REIT.

The 55 companies involved are:

  1. Alpha Energy
  2. Annica Holdings
  3. Artivision Technologies
  4. Asiaphos
  5. Asiatic Group
  6. Cacola Furniture
  7. China Gaoxian Fibre Fabric 
  8. China Kunda Technology
  9. China New Town Development
  10. China Sky Chemical Fibre
  11. China Taisan Technology Group
  12. China Yongsheng (delisted in June 2016)
  13. Chiwayland (renamed CWG International)
  14. Ecowise
  15. Edition
  16. EMAS Offshore
  17. EMS Energy (delisted in 2019)
  18. Enviro-Hub
  19. Europtronic Group
  20. Ezra Holdings (under judicial management)
  21. Falcon Energy
  22. Fu Yu Corp
  23. Hu An Cable Holdings
  24. Huan Hsin Holdings (delisted on Aug 12 2020)
  25. IEV Holdings
  26. Infinio Group
  27. Japfa
  28. Jason Holdings
  29. Jaya Holdings (delisted on March 1 2018)
  30. Jiutian Chemical Group
  31. Ley Choon Group
  32. Linc Energy
  33. Longcheer Holdings (renamed LCT Holdings in 2016)
  34. Luzhou Biochem
  35. Mercator
  36. Nam Cheong
  37. Nordic Group
  38. Ocean Sky International
  39. OEL Holdings
  40. PACC Offshore Services (delisted on Feb 5 2020)
  41. Resources Prima Group
  42. Rex International
  43. RH Petrogas
  44. Sapphire Corp
  45. SBI Offshore
  46. Secura
  47. Singhaiyi
  48. Sunningdale Tech
  49. Sunvic Chemical
  50. Swiber
  51. Swissco Holdings (under judicial management)
  52. Sysma
  53. Triyards Holdings
  54. TT International
  55. Vibropower