A Singapore court imposed heavy fines on a company and two of its employees Tuesday (19/9) for exporting a sonar system to Myanmar in 2018 for use by its navy.
The two men, who at the time worked for Singapore-based survey equipment supplier Hydronav, pleaded guilty to exporting the strategic items without a permit. Wui Ong Chuan, 70, then director of the company, was fined Sg$45,000 (US$33,000) while Poiter Agus Kentjana, then sales manager, was fined Sg$35,000.
Hydronav was also fined Sg$1.13 million ($828,618) by a court for exporting sonar systems and drones used for surveys to Myanmar.
The equipment exported was a multibeam echo sounder system that, according to the website of the Norwegian company Kongsberg, is used for seabed mapping.
Wui and Poiter also admitted defrauding Kongsberg, which sold the equipment to Hydronav. They had submitted fake documents to Kongsberg, leading Kongsberg to believe the equipment would be used by an Indonesian company, according to court documents.
Hydronav then sold it to the Myanmar entity, Light of Universe, for US$1.58 million for use by the Myanmar Naval Hydrographic Center.
The system was exported to Myanmar in July 2018, and Singaporean authorities raided Hydronav’s offices two years later. The sale came before a military coup in Myanmar less than three years later that overthrew the Southeast Asian country’s democratically elected government. Prosecutors said there was no evidence that the system was used for military purposes.
Singapore imposes export controls on “strategic goods” including weapons, military equipment and technology with potential military use.
Anyone found exporting strategic goods without a permit can be fined up to Sg$100,000 ($73,300) or three times the value of the goods, jailed for up to two years, or both. (ab/ka)