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    SINGAPORE - A prominent Chinese-born academic has lost an appeal against Singapore's decision to expel him for allegedly being an "agent of influence" for a foreign government, the interior ministry said Wednesday.

    Huang Jing, a US citizen who worked at leading postgraduate school the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, and his wife were stripped of their Singapore permanent residency status on August 4.

    Authorities accused him of working as "an agent of influence of a foreign country", and trying to use his prominent position to influence Singapore's foreign policy.

    His wife was accused of being aware of his activities.

    They did not say which government he was accused of working for but the scholar has written extensively on China and regularly contributed to state-run media.

    Huang and his wife appealed the government's move but the Ministry of Home Affairs said Wednesday it had rejected their challenge.

    The pair "will have to leave Singapore within a stipulated grace period," a ministry statement said, adding both will be permanently banned from coming back to the city-state.

    It did not say how long the grace period was.

    After news broke of the Singapore government's decision to revoke his permanent residency status, Huang told Hong Kong's South China Morning Post the allegations against him were "nonsense".

    Huang's case comes at a time Singapore and China's historically warm ties are being tested.

    There were tensions earlier this year when the southern Chinese city of Hong Kong seized nine Singapore armoured troop carriers as they returned to the city-state after conducting military exercises in Taiwan.

    Beijing considers self-ruling Taiwan a renegade province awaiting reunification.

     

    Wednesday, August 23, 2017 - 17:02
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    Thursday, August 24, 2017 - 08:54
    There's a mountain named after Ong Teng Cheong
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    Singapore - Their hands move in lightning speed, and there is a look of intense concentration on their faces. 10-year-old twins Samuel and Oliver Tan are not their usual bubbly selves when they are engaged in cup stacking, also known as sport stacking.

    The twins came across cup stacking in school last year, and fell in love with the sport. They have been largely practising on their own until they met Mr Allan Ong, head of the World Sport Stacking Association (WSSA) Singapore branch, who helped them prepare for a national competition in June this year.

    Did the twins succeed in achieving their goal of winning a medal?

    Get the answer and more in this episode of "A Little Somebody".

    About "A Little Somebody":

    "A Little Somebody"(我是小某某) is one of 10 SPH-produced short form digital video series as part of a pilot Public Service Broadcast initiative. In this 13-part series, children between the age of 7 and 12 are given the opportunity to showcase their talent in different fields. While encouraging the young to pursue their interests, this series also hopes to inspire viewers to continue learning in life.

    "A Little Somebody"is also available on the zaobao.sg website and mobile app. All episodes come with Chinese and English subtitles.

    Thursday, August 24, 2017 - 10:36
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    https://studio.brightcove.com/products/videocloud/media/videos/5545807217001

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    MRT delays are a way of life in Singapore. Over the last decade, we've come to terms with the fact that those days of near-100 per cent reliability are never coming back.

    But since it doesn't look like cars will ever be affordable, that's just something most of us have to learn to live with.

    Now that MRT breakdowns are the new normal, we need to be prepared for a delay every single time we step through those gantries.

    Here are six survival tips to make the next delay less frustrating.

    ALWAYS GO TO THE TOILET BEFORE LEAVING FOR THE MRT STATION

    Squeezing into a sardine-can MRT carriage is a million times worse when you have to go to the loo.

    And it becomes a trillion times worse if said MRT breaks down and you're trapped indefinitely in the steamy little carriage.

    Make life easier for yourself by always, always going to the toilet before setting out, and remember that you're doing yourself no favours if you decide to drink one litre of water ten minutes before leaving.

    BRING SOMETHING ENJOYABLE TO DO ON THE MRT

    If you're going to be stuck on the MRT for hours every week, you'd best bring something useful and/or interesting to do.

    There's only so much time you can spend playing mindless games on your smartphone or complaining to your friends on WhatsApp.

    Other than books, magazines and music/headphones, there are other things you can do on the train. For instance, if you are a knitter, you already know that knitting is the perfect way to while away 45 wasted minutes.

    Load up your MP3 player with podcasts. Write in your journal. Try to solve a Rubik's Cube. Study Esperanto. There's quite a bit you can do if you come prepared.

    North-South MRT Line hit by two disruptions in 12 hours, both during peak-hour commute

    MAKE SURE YOUR PHONE IS FULLY CHARGED

    There's a reason Singaporeans stare so resolutely at their smartphones when they're on the MRT. It's the easiest way to numb themselves to the overcrowded surroundings.

    Should an MRT breakdown occur, your phone running out of battery is the worst thing that could possibly happen, since it means you're pretty much stuck glaring at the 5,000 people pressed up against you.

    So always ensure your phone is fully charged before you leave the house, and if possible, bring along a power bank, too. It's also a good idea to keep a charger at work so you can charge up your devices before making the commute home, since the MRT has this nasty habit of breaking down when you're rushing home after a tiring day at work.

    On a more practical note, having a working phone also means you'll be able to receive updates on the breakdown, figure out transport alternatives and call a cab/Grab/friend/family member to come get you when you finally make it out of the MRT station.

    FOLLOW SMRT'S UPDATES ON TWITTER AND FACEBOOK

    When you're stuck on the MRT and the doors haven't opened in fifteen minutes, you want to know what the hell is going on.

    Follow SMRT's updates on Twitter and Facebook so you stay updated on delays and alternative transport arrangements if any.

    DOWNLOAD LTA'S MYTRANSPORT, GRAB, UBER AND GOOGLEMAPS

    Whether you are lucky enough to not have stepped onto the MRT before it broke down, or are waiting patiently for your release into the outside world, one thing's for sure-you'll want to figure out how you can get to your destination ASAP.

    If you intend to use public transport, LTA's MyTransport app and Google Maps are indispensable. You'll be able to figure out how to take a bus to your destination and find the right bus stops using these two apps. The MyTransport app also sends you notifications when there is a breakdown or a delay, and those are indispensable.

    You'll also need apps like Grab and Uber so you can summon a car or taxi pronto for times when you just can't be late.

    AVOID TRAVELLING DURING PEAK HOUR

    MRT breakdowns tend to happen during peak hour, when the transport system struggles to cope with the massive influx of people rushing to and from work.

    If you have any sort of flexibility at work, avoid peak hour like the plague. That could mean coming to work 20 minutes earlier or later.

    And hey, if you're going to be stuck in an MRT breakdown anyway, better to have it happen when the train is empty enough to give you a modicum of breathing room.

    Do you have any tips for making life easier during the next MRT breakdown? Share them with us in the comments!

    Thursday, August 24, 2017 - 11:50

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    "I was always a child who was a bit different. I was neither conventional nor rule-abiding."

    "I grew up in a dysfunctional family where illegal activities were by no means foreign to my family members," confessed Jacki Ng.

    At the tender age of 13, Jacki joined a local gang and dabbled in all sorts of vices, although no serious crimes were involved. He was mainly tasked to act as a 'jaga' (a look-out) and committed only petty crimes.

    He was even expelled from secondary school later on for fighting.

    "I don't think there was a single factor influencing me to stray but imagine meeting a group of friends as a young boy who accepts you for your differences. It is not only attractive but comforting," he reasoned.

    But when a close friend of his was sentenced to death for a crime one day, that served as a harsh wake-up call for him.

    "Seeing that as a grown adult would scare you, let alone when you are just a child," he recounted.

    "The incident made me re-evaluate my life choices and also made me realise that there really isn't a successful end to this path no matter how hard you try."

    TURNING OVER A NEW LEAF

    Determined to put his troubled past behind and turn over a new leaf, Jacki taught himself English and earned an NTC3 in Motor Vehicle Mechanics from the Institute of Technical Education.

    But because he did not exactly excel in academics nor have an outstanding job resume, he figured that carving his own career path would make the best choice.

    He wanted to start his own business and be his own boss.

    Alas, that ambition left him losing a "great deal of money" and he soon sank into depression.

    His concerned friends started introducing diving to him as an activity and it ended up becoming a huge help in overcoming his depression.

    He soon fell in love with the diving life and started helping out his friends with their diving business called Gill Divers.

    "After a while, they wanted to give the business up. It was then that I took over and decided to adopt Gill Divers as my own," said Jacki.

    After five years of running Gill Divers, he met his current business partner (who also ran a successful dive centre) and that's when they decided to form Asia Dive Academy (ADA) together.

    This was back in 2009 - the duo wanted to form an entity that would empower dive organisations and make the entire industry efficient.

    "I wanted to work with different dive entities so that we can make our operations more efficient. The company was merely the binding force," he said.

    But the startup life wasn't exactly a smooth-sailing journey, and they faced many challenges during their early days.

    "Some key business challenges I've faced is the dynamics of the South Eastern market, the disruptive forces in the tech industry, and the challenge of getting staff to understand the deeper meaning of our work."

    REVOLUTIONISING THE DIVE INDUSTRY

    Fast forward to today, Jacki is revolutionising the dive industry in Singapore, as he empowers young people to start their own dive businesses and introduces new technological developments to improve the operation and logistical capabilities of dive companies.

    "There are plenty of courses that teach people how to dive. However, education with regards to running a dive operation or dealing with tourism and hospitality in the dive context is duly lacking. Because the skills needed in this industry are so unique, we created a programme four years ago to address these needs," said Jacki.

    "This 8-month programme takes you from a non-diver all the way to an instructor with skills from multiple areas needed to be successful in this industry, and allows people who are passionate about diving to carve a career from it. ADA then provides an influx of ready professionals with relevant skills into the industry, hereby empowering it."

    Throughout his time in the diving industry, Jacki also noted that the existing processes were incredibly manual. Not many people were digitalising their business and investing in technology-driven solutions.

    He wanted to bridge this digital gap and saw the potential for a software-driven system to help scale businesses.

    As such, ADA went on to introduce their own dive management software, which is apparently the first of its kind in the world. It makes use of cloud-based technology to improve the operation and customer experience for dive centres.

    The integrated platform allows business owners to manage customers, equipment and payment; and also gives students access to online training at the same time.

    So far, transactions done through their online platform has grown by over 80 per cent in the past 8 months.

    Encouraged by such positive response, Jacki expressed his hopes to make the software completely open source in the future, so as to improve efficiency for the whole industry.

    He also sees the potential of bringing in more new technology into the dive industry.

    He intends to make use of the Internet of Things to track the usage of tanks, and to work on improving the sustainability of the industry by tracking and monitoring the number of dives an area can sustainably hold, which helps to reduce the impact diving has on marine life and parks.

    IT'S NEVER ABOUT THE PROFIT

    Since inception, Jacki has been bootstrapping the startup, which has since grown into a team of 80 people and raking in a huge profit turnover of $4.5 million.

    But Jacki insisted that it's never about the money.

    He simply has a strong passion for the diving community and wants to give back and improve an industry that means so much to him.

    ADA has also gone regional in the last year and a half. It has clinched partners from all over the Southeast Asia region, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Papua New Guinea and the Maldives, offering a global approach to professional dive education and training for recreational and technical diving.

    Moving forward, Jacki said that ADA is looking to explore deeper into dive resort business opportunities.

    When asked to impart some final words of advice for fellow young entrepreneurs, he said that "tenacity will always outweigh luck and risk is just an illusion that you have something to lose."

    True enough. Despite being a school dropout, Jacki has proved that hard work and effort never betrays - it only pays.

    This article was first published in Vulcan Post.

    Thursday, August 24, 2017 - 12:45

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    A netizen has posted photos and videos on his Facebook page showing a crocodile that he came across in Singapore.

    In the caption of the post made by Adam Huzaiz Alysha yesterday (Aug 23) at 10.21am, it was mentioned that the reptile was spotted in the vicinity of Changi Beach.

    The crocodile looked relatively small, and it can be seen in the video wading in the water near the shore.

    At around the halfway mark of both videos he posted, the netizen panned the camera upwards and a park can be seen nearby.

    There were visitors at the park as the footage was being filmed.

    The videos Adam posted have since garnered a combined total of 500,000 views and the post has been shared more than 8,500 times.

    Thursday, August 24, 2017 - 13:35

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    Two Singaporean men have been jailed for a year each in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), for wearing women's clothing and sporting a feminine appearance.

    Stomp contributor MV alerted Stomp to an article posted on LinkedIn that provides a background on the arrest and conviction of the duo.

    According to the write-up published by non-governmental organisation 'Detained in Dubai's' CEO Radha Stirling, the Singaporeans were arrested on Aug 9 at a shopping mall for 'looking feminine' after arriving at the country on Aug 8.

    She said that "the UAE has built a tolerant, cosmopolitan image, but the laws continue to reflect the conservative, traditional values of the society. It is not uncommon for visitors to be confused about what is or is not acceptable behaviour."

    A court document in Arabic said two Singaporean men were caught for wearing women's clothes in public and for behaving indecently.

    The New Paper has identified the individuals to be 26-year-old fashion photographer Fadli Rahman and 37-year-old Nur Qistina Fitriah Ibrahim.

    Nur is a transgender person who had legally changed her name but has not undergone gender reassignment surgery to become a woman.

    Cross-dressing, homosexuality and transgender behaviour are crimes in the UAE.

    Fadli's family said they have not spoken to him since he sent them a selfie on Aug 9.

    His brother, Saiful Rahman, revealed that his parents cried after receiving news of his arrest and are worried about him.

    Nur's sister, Madam Rozy, also said she is worried about her detained sibling.

    Mr Fadli's brother, Mr Saiful Rahman with his mother and sister holding a phone displaying a photo of Mr Fadli.Photo: TNP

    She told The Straits Times:

    "We have a family WhatsApp group and Fifi often sent us messages whenever she was away. This time, she suddenly went silent and this was out of character. A few days later, we received a voice message from her saying she had been arrested. I was shocked.

    "Fifi has not undergone gender reassignment surgery, so her personal documents still state her gender as male."

    Madam Rozy also revealed that Nur had visited UAE four times in the past and returned safely each time.

    Minister for Foreign Affairs, Vivian Balakrishnan, has issued a statement over the incident in response to media queries. He said:

    "I'm sorry to hear about this. Rest assured that our consular and mission colleagues will do their best to assist your brother. I understand that they are already in contact with you and your brother. Please let me know if you need further assistance."

    Fadli and Nur have until Sep 4 to appeal against their sentence.

    Thursday, August 24, 2017 - 14:53
    2 Singaporeans jailed in Abu Dhabi for wearing women's clothes and looking feminine
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    Police have arrested an 18-year-old man for his suspected involvement in a case of attempted extortion.

    The police said a 19-year-old woman made a report on Aug 17 at 4.11am, informing the authorities that an online acquaintance had threatened to upload a video of her having sex with him if she did not transfer $100 to him. 

    After extensive ground queries, police officers arrested the suspect on Tuesday (Aug 22) at Bedok North Street 3.

    If found guilty, he will face jail term of up to two years and with caning.

    a1admin@sph.com.sg

    Thursday, August 24, 2017 - 16:03

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    Friday, August 25, 2017 - 08:40
    Razer CEO says he will submit e-payment proposal within 2 weeks
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    SINGAPORE - An international search at sea for American sailors missing after their warship collided with a tanker off Singapore was suspended Thursday, with divers set to continue recovery efforts inside the destroyer, the US Navy said.

    Remains found in a flooded compartment of the USS John S. McCain, which was left with a gaping hole in its hull, were identified as Kenneth Aaron Smith but nine other sailors remain unaccounted for.

    The pre-dawn collision on Monday, which also left five sailors injured, was the second such deadly accident in two months after a US destroyer collided with a cargo ship off Japan in June.

    There has been a total of four accidents involving American warships in the Pacific this year, sparking concerns the US Navy is overstretched as it tackles China's growing assertiveness and North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

    The latest accident prompted the navy to begin a global investigation and remove the commander of the Japan-headquartered Seventh Fleet, the centrepiece of the US military presence in Asia.

    Announcing the latest development, the Seventh Fleet said in a statement: "After more than 80 hours of multinational search efforts, the US Navy suspended search and rescue efforts for missing USS John S. McCain sailors" in a massive area at sea.

    US Navy divers "will continue search and recovery efforts inside flooded compartments in the ship for the missing sailors", it said.

    Bodies of several missing US sailors found after collision in Singapore

    Multinational search 

    Singapore also confirmed the search efforts were suspended.

    They had involved ships, aircraft and divers from Singapore, the US, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Australia, covering a vast area east of the city-state.

    "We would like to express our condolences to the families and loved ones of the deceased US Navy crew, and wish the injured crew speedy recovery," said Andrew Tan, chief executive of Singapore's Maritime and Port Authority.

    The nine sailors still missing are aged between 20 and 39.

    The Malaysian navy had found a body during search operations a considerable distance from the crash site but US authorities said earlier Thursday it was not one of the missing sailors.

    The collision happened in busy shipping lanes near the Singapore Strait as the destroyer headed for a routine stop in the city-state following a "freedom of navigation operation" in the disputed South China Sea that had angered Beijing.

    On Monday the Chief of US Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson ordered commanders within a week to set aside time, perhaps "one or two days," for crews to sit down together for discussions.

    A "comprehensive review" of practices would also begin.

    The damaged vessel is named after US Senator John McCain's father and grandfather, who were both admirals in the US navy.

    The tanker involved in the collision, which was used for transporting oil and chemicals and weighed over 30,000 gross tonnes, sustained some damage but no crew were injured and it did not leak oil.

    In the June incident, the USS Fitzgerald collided with a Philippine-flagged cargo ship in a busy channel not far from Yokosuka, a gateway to container ports in Tokyo and nearby Yokohama, leaving seven sailors dead.

    Friday, August 25, 2017 - 09:22
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  • 08/24/17--19:02: Take a spin with BT Weekend
  • THE vinyl revival is here to stay as analog sound lovers find more places in Singapore to indulge in crate digging and other activities of the 45rpm kind. 

    Also check out the Weekend magazine’s style guide on how to inject flashes of colour into your power wardrobe. And find out how three new downtown properties have turned themselves into one-stop lifestyle destinations. 

    For the uber-rich, there’s no greater way to fly than private. With Singapore a growing hub for business aviation, our Brunch feature takes a look at the private jet scene here. 

    A former insurance agent was recently awarded S$4 million from the High Court after a bad reference cut him out of a new job. Cubicle Files finds out what jobseekers need to know and be aware of when it comes to reference checks. 

    It’s the seventh lunar month. If you find yourself staying in more to Netflix it, Disrupted has some hacks to make binge-watching easier.

    Can’t ever sleep on the plane? Cult Status finds the dream travel pillow that you will want to take everywhere.

    Fifty years on, The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is still the greatest album of all time, says Music To My Ears.

    The Finish Line looks ahead to this Saturday’s clash at Old Trafford as the Red Devils face the 2015/16 champions, Leicester City.

    And in BT Motoring, we talk 70 years of Ferrari, and review the Mercedes-AMG GLC-43.

    Friday, August 25, 2017 - 10:00
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    Kuala Lumpur - Olympic butterfly champion Joseph Schooling rounded on critics who say he's swimming too slowly after he grabbed his fourth and fifth gold medals of the Southeast Games on Thursday.

    Schooling said detractors could say what they liked as he won the 100m freestyle and anchored Singapore's 4x200m freestyle relay victory to near his target of six gold medals in Kuala Lumpur.

    "They can say whatever they want," Schooling shot back, when asked about the criticism of his performances which has been circulating online.

    "My goal is to come here and help the team as best as I can, win gold medals. That's all I care about at this meet. You can't always set best times, it's fine.

    "It's all about me trying to help the team as best as I can and me trying to win as many individual events as I can." Schooling, who won 100m butterfly bronze at last month's world championships, just a year after stunning Michael Phelps to claim the Olympic title, hasn't tested his personal bests this week.

    In the 100m freestyle, he was pushed all the way by Vietnam's Hoang Quy Phuoc before winning in 48.93, outside the SEA Games record he set two years ago in Singapore.

    In the relay, he pulled away in the last leg to help Singapore to win by more than six seconds, but their time didn't beat the tournament record they set in their home pool in 2015.

    Tummy trouble 

    Malaysia, who lost Daniel Bego from their relay team because of a food poisoning outbreak which hit 16 Malaysian athletes, finished third in the event behind Vietnam.

    "We do feel sorry for him and we're pretty sure he's disappointed too. But we can't help it because it's sickness, it happens to everyone," said Malaysia's Welson Sim.

    With five full days of competition to go, Malaysia appeared to be headed for victory on the overall medals table as they soared to 63 golds late on Thursday, 30 ahead of second-placed Vietnam.

    Grace Wong set a new Games record of 59.24m in the women's hammer, and boxer Muhamad Fuad Redzuan won Malaysia's first ever SEA Games title in the light flyweight division.

    Fuad, who beat Thani Narinram of Thailand for the gold, denied suggestions he benefited from an unfair decision in his quarter-final against Filipino teenager Carlo Paalam.

    "Some say I won, others say he won but for me I got the most number of points and the fight was dominated by myself and not him," he said.

    Quzandria Ambak won dressage gold - ahead of her elder brother Qabil, who took silver - and Malaysia also won titles in squash, karate, shooting and pencak silat, a martial art.

    Thailand swept the men's and women's individual golf titles, as Thai-Japanese Kosuke Hamamoto carded 10-under-par 203 over three rounds to win by a stroke from Singapore's Marc Ong.

    In the women's golf, also held at Kuala Lumpur's Mines Resort, Atthaya Thitikul marched to victory by seven strokes with 14-under-par 199.

    Friday, August 25, 2017 - 10:17
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    A Primary 5 pupil from Horizon Primary School was recently caned for misbehaving, but his parents are concerned over the severity of the cane marks on his leg.

    Stomp contributor N, the 11-year-old boy's aunt, alerted Stomp to the incident and said: "My sister (the pupil's mother) would like to bring up this issue but does not know how, so I'm helping her."

    In a phone interview with Stomp, N said that her nephew was given one stroke of the cane on Aug 15 for 'misbehaving'.

    "He is a hyperactive kid (but not ADHD) and also apparently brought poker cards to school.

    "The vice-principal did the caning in his office."

    While the boy's parents were informed of the caning and had signed an acknowledgement form that they received from the school, they did not expect how serious the marks would be.

    A photo from Stomp contributor N shows bright red cane marks on her nephew's thigh, with bruising in the same area as well.

    Stomp contributor N said: "We all thought the caning would be on the buttocks, but it was on my nephew's thigh. We didn't expect the scar that he is now left with.

    "After the caning, he was unable to sit for a week and had a phobia of returning to school. He even thought of changing schools."

    N added that her nephew is currently back at school.

    In response to Stomp's queries, a spokesman for Horizon Primary School said in a statement: "One of our students was counselled and caned in accordance with the school rules so that he would understand the consequences of his actions.

    "We have been working with his family to help the student learn. He has resumed learning actively in school."

    Stomp contributor N confirmed that the school had been in contact with the boy's family but said: "My sister is still upset about what happened and would like to pursue the matter further."

    When asked by Stomp to address the family's concerns, Horizon Primary School declined to comment further.

    Friday, August 25, 2017 - 10:45
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    Police have arrested two men and two women, aged between 28 and 49, for selling counterfeit luxury and sports items.

    The four suspects were nabbed in a six-hour operation conducted on Wed (Aug 23), said a police statement.

    Officers from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) conducted simultaneous raids at three retail outlets in a shopping mall along Orchard Road and a residential unit at Bukit Timah, resulting in the arrests.

    AsiaOne understands that the mall in question is Lucky Plaza.

    During the operation, more than 1,700 pieces of trademark-infringing shoes, clothes, bags, wallets, watches, belts and other accessories were seized.

    A cap seized in the raidPhoto: Singapore Police Force

    The goods, which bore the trademarks of various designer and sports brands, have an estimated street value of about $51,000, according to the statement.

    Counterfeit goods seizedPhoto: Singapore Police Force

    Investigations against the suspects are ongoing.

    Those found guilty of selling or distributing goods with falsely applied trademark may be fined up to a maximum of $100,000, or be jalied up to five years, or both.

    a1admin@sph.com.sg

     

    Friday, August 25, 2017 - 11:09
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