Singapore Breaking News
SINGAPORE: Staff of Peter Lim have made police reports over scammers allegedly impersonating the Singaporean businessman and offering investment advice online.
The police on Wednesday (Aug 10) confirmed that reports were lodged.
Mr Lim, 69, has a net worth of about US$2.4 billion according to Forbes. He is the owner of Spanish football club Valencia.
His spokesperson told reporters that the alleged scammers were claiming to be Mr Lim and offering stock trading advice and courses over multiple messaging platforms such as Telegram and WhatsApp.
Two police reports were made on Jun 20 and Aug 2, said the spokesperson.
"The posts appeared to have gone viral very fast as Mr Lim's office has been notified by many people who know him," said the spokesperson, who added that the number of people who have received the messages is unknown.
Screenshots of the conversations showed an individual using the name "Peter Lim" and a display photo of the businessman sending messages in Telegram and WhatsApp chat groups.
The messages, in English and Chinese, were sent to chat groups with between 80 and 140 members.
In the screenshots, an individual purporting to be Mr Lim informed a chat group of "must earn shares" available for purchase, and offered portfolio analysis.
One of the screenshots also showed the individual engaging in a conversation with someone purporting to be Joel Greenblatt, an American investor and adjunct professor at Columbia University.
The number of investment scams in Singapore more than doubled to 2,476 cases in 2021 from the previous year, contributing to an overall spike in scams.
Investment scams were the costliest among various types of scams, with victims losing S$190.9 million last year.
SINGAPORE: The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) intends to contest Sembawang GRC at the next general election, said the opposition party's chairman Paul Tambyah on Tuesday (Aug 9).
SDP contested in the constituency in 2006 and 2011.
"Many people in the area still remember the SDP and they have been quite welcoming," said Professor Tambyah, adding that the party has been conducting house visits since last year.
The GRC is currently helmed by a five-member team from the People's Action Party - Health Minister Ong Ye Kung, Mr Vikram Nair, Dr Lim Wee Kiak and Ms Poh Li San. The PAP defeated the National Solidarity Party at the general election in 2020 after winning 67.29 per cent of the vote.
Prof Tambyah was speaking to reporters at the end of an SDP National Day walkabout through six constituencies, ending at Kampung Admiralty located in Sembawang GRC.
The other five constituencies the party - including secretary-general Chee Soon Juan - visited on Tuesday were those SDP contested in the previous polls.
In the 2020 general election, SDP fielded candidates in Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC, Bukit Panjang SMC, Yuhua SMC, Holland-Bukit Timah GRC and Bukit Batok SMC.
The party did not clinch any seats. Its best showings were in Bukit Batok SMC where Dr Chee garnered 45.2 per cent of votes and Bukit Panjang SMC where last-minute candidate Prof Tambyah got 46.26 per cent of votes.
Singapore has to hold its next polls by August 2025.
A Singaporean man on Tuesday (Aug 9) admitted to murdering his wife while they were on holiday in the United Kingdom in 2021.
The defence for Fong Soong Hert, who is also known as Alan Fong, told the Newcastle Crown Court in the northeast of England that he now accepts “proper criminal liability” for his actions on the night his wife died.
When the trial began last Monday, Mr Fong’s team had argued that he should be found guilty of the manslaughter of Pek Ying Ling, known as Evelyn Pek, on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
Ms Pek was found dead at the County Aparthotel on Dec 6, 2021.
On Tuesday, after a delay to the start of proceedings, Judge Paul Sloan QC asked the 51-year-old defendant to stand, and the clerk read out the charges, to which Mr Fong responded: “Guilty.”
He is due to be sentenced on Friday - the minimum sentence for murder is life imprisonment.
The couple’s three sons sat at the back of the public gallery as their father admitted to the charges.
In a joint statement, they said: “We are heartbroken after losing our Mum, but now we just want to provide our Dad with the support he needs.”
Detective Chief Inspector Matt Steel, the senior investigating officer, called the case “incredibly tragic”.
He commended the couple’s sons’ “composure and their engagement with the police throughout this extremely difficult period in their lives”.
He added: “We will support them in any way we can as they continue to navigate their grief and process what has happened.
“We would ask that everyone respects their privacy at this extremely difficult time. We want to be clear that we will absolutely not tolerate domestic abuse or violence in any form.
“When incidents of this nature do occur we are committed to bringing those responsible to justice.”
Mr Fong’s guilty plea comes five days into the trial. Court proceedings were postponed last Thursday and Friday due to a lawyer's illness.
Acting on behalf of the prosecution, Peter Makepeace QC told the court last week that Mr Fong and Ms Pek were in the UK following a trip to Dubai and Europe.
They had planned to tour Scotland, but while on the Isle of Skye, a small island off the Scottish coast, Mr Fong experienced a bad fall.
On a walk one evening, he tripped, lost his step in the dark and fell down a steep embankment.
The court heard that an ambulance was called, and Mr Fong was given a mix of painkillers by paramedics before being taken to hospital to be examined.
Days later, the couple travelled down to Newcastle with their son Alonzo Fong and checked into the Country Aparthotel on Westgate Road.
The court played a recording of the call Alonzo made to the emergency services soon after 7am on Dec 6.
He’s heard saying: “Okay, he told me, I think they had some argument of some sort and then I think he lost it. "
The court also heard from Dr Jennifer Bolton who carried out the post-mortem of Ms Pek’s body.
The mother-of-three had been wearing black leggings, a black top and black underwear, stained with urine, when she was found.
The forensic pathologist said 11 bruises and haemorrhages were visible on Ms Pek’s chin, shoulders, arms and legs.
Two large, symmetrical bruises were identified on each shoulder, which Dr Bolton said she believed were likely to have been caused at the same time.
She added: “That then raises the possibility of her being knelt on while the pillow was then held over her face.”
Mr Fong took the stand himself on Monday, describing his marriage as “wonderful”, “peaceful” and “very happy”.
When questioned by the prosecution, the defendant claimed he could not remember any details of killing his wife.
He replied “I don’t know” or “I cannot remember” to most questions put to him.
SINGAPORE - Giving people a second chance if they could not get into public universities was the Singapore Institute of Management's (SIM) main mission after it was founded in 1964.
But in 2017, SIM's degree-granting arm - SIM University - was restructured into an autonomous university and renamed the Singapore University of Social Sciences.
This started a period of soul searching for the institution as a whole, said president and chief executive Seah Chin Siong, with SIM now deciding to pivot to focus on professional and skills education.
Speaking to reporters recently, he added: "SIM is now 'minding the gap' between formal education and work in the industry."
While SIM still offers degrees in partnership with institutions overseas such as the University of London through its global education arm, it has been beefing up its programmes for professionals and businesses, he said.
In a recent statement, SIM said that starting in November, it will launch courses such as Job of the Chief Executive, Job of the Chief Sustainability Officer and Job of the Chief Learning Officer.
These will give training to people who are eyeing senior leadership positions.
It has also been working on helping enterprises to develop learning and skills road maps, Mr Seah added, as well as creating ways to recognise micro-credentials which can give companies a better indication of a workers' specific skills than a traditional degree.
Said Mr Seah, who began helming SIM in 2019: "We don't do academic research. What we do is we focus on the industry."
SIM, which was started by the Economic Development Board, will also be working with companies to create on-the-job training courses.
In May, it announced that it would work with IT company and M1 subsidiary AsiaPac. The company’s employees who have diplomas can equip themselves with skills for the information and communications technology sector and pursue an undergraduate degree at SIM.
These efforts are in line with what SIM has done historically, but the time is right for such a pivot, said executive director of the Institute for Adult Learning, Professor Lee Wing On.
He added: "For over five decades, SIM has provided our workforce with relevant, valuable skills training.
He said Singapore's economy is gearing up to recover and transform amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and industry-focused and skills-based training to prepare the workforce of the future is more pertinent than ever.
Prof Lee added that SIM's repositioning will create more opportunities for collaborations in the training and adult education sector that address and anticipate learners' needs, while encouraging and engaging them to pursue continual career development.
SINGAPORE - Students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) are floating up an idea called Seaform to help the nation achieve its food security goals.
Seaform - a floating, self-sustaining farm that aims to tackle rising sea levels and land scarcity too - takes water from the sea before purifying it for crops like lettuce.
It is among a raft of new inventions from SUTD students - showcased in an exhibition at the Changi campus on Friday (Aug 5) - to address Singapore's challenges.
Seaform is powered by wind and solar energy, said one of its designers - fourth-year information systems technology and design student Clement Vimal Ravindran, 24.
He is in a group of seven students from various disciplines who designed Seaform as part of their final-year project.
They built a small-scale version of the platform for the exhibition on Friday, complete with lettuce they have been growing with a filtration system fed with salt water.
The group's leader Chia Hou-An, 26, said: "The vision is to build these floating platforms at 5,000 sq m each.
"They will be hexagon shaped and modular, meaning that you can attach additional platforms for other purposes like office buildings or transportation, forming a 'floating city'."
Students also worked on projects improving existing infrastructure, many teaming up with agencies like GovTech on issues such as waste collection and road maintenance.
One such invention is Sleek - a "soft robot" which moves like a worm through rubble to find disaster victims using heat, carbon dioxide and sound sensors.
Unlike traditional robots built with a rigid form, Sleek uses air pressure to grow and extend its tube-shaped body to navigate fallen buildings.
This makes it manoeuvrable enough to sniff out survivors through the cracks, said one of its six designers, Ms Seah Qi Yan, 22.
The project hopes to give SCDF’s disaster relief workers a durable and cost efficient tool for search and rescue operations.
The team developed it in close consultation with rescue specialists and the Home Team Science and Technology Agency.
The projects cap four years of study for the students, most of whom will be finishing their degree courses next month.
Some plan to launch their projects at scale soon.
The team behind Seaform have named themselves AgriArk and hope to go commercial after graduation.
"But first, we have to finish our exams over the next two weeks," said Mr Clement.
SINGAPORE - Work has begun on altering the genetics of important crops like leafy greens to boost their nutritional value and make them more suitable for indoor farming.
This is among the research projects which will be helmed by scientists at the National University of Singapore (NUS) at its new $10 million Research Centre on Sustainable Urban Farming (Surf).
The centre will also tackle some of the complex challenges associated with urban farming.
Launched on Friday (Aug 5), the facility will bring together scientists across the university - from engineering to biological sciences - to develop novel and high-tech solutions for urban farming, said its director Prakash Kumar.
Singapore Food Agency's chief executive Lim Kok Thai, who was a guest of honour at the event, said such advanced breeding strategies could enhance the efficacy of urban farming and eventually the Republic's food security.
"With less than 1 per cent of our land available for food production, it is important that our farms adopt technology and innovation to grow food in a productive, climate resilient and resource efficient way," he added.
NUS president Tan Eng Chye said at the launch that 10 projects have garnered around $11 million in external grants so far, with many professors linking up with other research institutes like the Agency for Science, Technology and Research and industrial players.
To ensure that the leafy greens are suitable for indoor farm environments, one project involves advanced breeding techniques like genome editing - modifying the plant's DNA to carry certain traits to improve yield and quality.
Other traits such as taste, shelf life and nutritional value can also be incorporated to breed new plant varieties.
Associate Professor Chew Fook Tim from NUS' Department of Biological Sciences, who is co-leading the research project, said the team is looking to boost the yield of important crops like choy sum and kale for indoor growing.
He told reporters that the team eventually hopes to develop a seed innovation hub which will carry the best versions of these key crops that can be distributed to urban farmers.
"That way, this would allow them to produce nutrient-packed crops as well as improve yield to help Singapore meet its goal of producing 30 per cent of its nutritional needs by 2030," he added.
The team also hopes to breed new variations of fruits like strawberries and key crops for the production of alternative proteins like mung beans.
Another project, led by Associate Professor Sanjay Swarup from NUS' Department of Biological Sciences, will also look into crop production and resilience, by harnessing the use of good microbes found in the natural environment.
To improve the food safety and shelf life of these vegetables, Assistant Professor Li Dan from the NUS Department of Food Science and Technology is working on a project involving LED light illumination.
The research centre started operations in June this year, with a new 200 sq m research facility set to be completed by early next year, said Prof Kumar.
It will boast state-of-the-art technology to facilitate research projects, such as plant growth rooms and a precision growth room where parameters such as the spectrum of light and temperature can be manipulated.
Professor William Chen, director of the Nanyang Technological University's food science and technology programme, said while Surf addresses the bulk of challenges faced by urban farms here, the high cost of operations and the need for energy efficiency should also be taken into consideration.
Highlighting the importance of developing science and tech capabilities for local urban farms, he added: "Just like how NUS is integrating expertise from various disciplines into Surf, we should take a similar approach at the national level with complementary contribution from different institutes of higher learning, such that each can leverage on their strength and provide a diversity of solutions."
SINGAPORE - Two men who were allegedly involved in e-sports match-fixing were charged in court on Friday (Aug 5).
Ryan Tan Shern, 20, and Malcolm Chung Wai Kiat, 24, were each handed a corruption charge.
They also face another charge under the Remote Gambling Act as the gratification was said to be in the form of partial winnings from bets placed through an illegal online gambling site.
On Sept 22, 2020, Tan is said to have promised gratification to Chung as an inducement to fix the outcome of an e-sports match in the Epulze Royal SEA Cup tournament.
The match involved Singapore team Resurgence and Japanese side Blackbird Ignis, which were competing in the first-person shooter video game Valorant.
In a statement, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau said it will not hesitate to take stern action against any parties involved if evidence of match-fixing through bribery is established.
The court heard on Friday that Tan attends a weekly gambling support group meeting and also sessions at the National Addictions Management Service at the Institute of Mental Health.
He and Chung will return to court on Sept 1.
If found guilty of corruption, they can each be fined up to $100,000, jailed for up to five years or both.
If found guilty of unlawful gambling, they can be fined up to $5,000, jailed for up to six months or both.
SINGAPORE - YouTuber Darryl Ian Koshy, who committed various sexual offences, including offering cash to a boy aged below 18 for sexual services, was jailed for 32 weeks on Friday (Aug 5).
Better known as Dee Kosh, the 33-year-old will begin serving his sentence on Friday.
Koshy had pleaded guilty in May to one charge of offering cash to a minor for sexual services, and to another charge under the Children and Young Persons Act for the attempted sexual exploitation of a young person.
He had also pleaded guilty to a charge under the Films Act for filming himself in 2016 or 2017 engaging in sex acts with a man aged between 23 and 25.
District Judge Jasvender Kaur said on Friday it was an aggravating factor that Koshy sought the sexual services of one of his victims who was 17 after ascertaining his age and despite being told he was underage.
Koshy’s social media presence was central to tracking down this victim, the judge added.
Koshy approached the victim on Feb 14, 2017, outside a department store in Orchard Road and posted a picture of the teen later that month and asked if anyone knew him.
One of the boy’s friends told him about the post and asked if he could share his number with Koshy, and the pair communicated via WhatsApp.
“In my view, it is reasonable to infer the accused had a nefarious intent to ensure the evidence of his illicit propositioning of (the victim) would not be discovered when he asked (him) to move the conversation to Snapchat and to delete the WhatsApp chat,” Judge Kaur said.
She also said it was relevant to consider that Koshy initially chose to deny all allegations and that legal action was threatened against the victim. This was the subject of one of four charges that were taken into consideration during his sentencing.
Judge Kaur also highlighted a video that was posted by Koshy after he was sentenced, in which he claimed he had assumed that one of his victims - who was 15 - was three years older and portrayed his offence as an unwitting contravention of the law.
“This was a blatant lie,” she said.
On Wednesday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Lim Ying Min had sought a sentence of five to eight months’ jail, saying Koshy's offences were highly premeditated as he had deliberately and persistently sought out minors.
The DPP said Koshy had used and capitalised on his status as a radio presenter and influencer to lure his victims.
Koshy’s lawyer, Mr Johannes Hadi, had argued for his client to get a sentence of 2½ months’ jail, highlighting Koshy’s remorse with low prospects of reoffending.
For offering cash to a youngster below 18 in exchange for sexual services, Koshy could have been jailed for up to two years and fined.
For the attempted sexual exploitation of a young person, he could have been jailed for up to five years, fined up to $10,000, or both.
SINGAPORE - Vaccinated persons in Singapore who had Covid-19 during this recent Omicron wave or the one earlier in the year are much less likely to develop long Covid symptoms, said Dr Barnaby Young, head of the Singapore Infectious Disease Clinical Research Network at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID).
Long Covid is a condition where people experience symptoms such as chest pain, breathing difficulties and fatigue months after the initial infection has cleared.
“From our experience at NCID, for those who do develop long Covid, the symptoms also tend to be less severe and do not persist so long among vaccinated patients with Covid-19 due to the Omicron variant,” he said.
“While we do not have a diagnostic test or treatment specifically for long Covid, we do have some medication for symptom relief, and usually perform some blood or imaging tests to exclude other causes.”
His comments come as a new Dutch study published in The Lancet medical journal suggests that one in eight adults with Covid-19 may experience long Covid.
“About one in eight patients reporting long Covid is similar to what we have described in Singapore, early in the pandemic,” said Dr Young.
The new study was conducted in the Netherlands by researchers from the University of Groningen. They collected data from online questionnaires on 23 symptoms commonly associated with long Covid from April 2020 to August last year.
The researchers compared the symptoms in people infected with Covid-19 with those who were not infected, which helps to ensure that the symptoms are not confused with non-Covid-19 ones.
They also asked participants if the symptoms were already present before their infection, in order to identify the core symptoms.
This method allows them to offer an improved working definition for long Covid and provide a reliable estimate of how likely it is to occur in the general population, said Professor Judith Rosmalen from the University of Groningen, the study's lead author.
In the study, about 21.4 per cent of 1,782 participants who had Covid-19 experienced at least one new symptom or a symptom that was more severe than before, three to five months post-infection.
This compares with 8.7 per cent of 4,130 uninfected people followed in the same time period, suggesting that one in eight Covid-19 patients (12.7 per cent) in the general population experiences long-term symptoms due to Covid-19, the researchers said.
Around the world, experts are trying to determine who is at risk of long Covid, and what can be done about it.
Researchers have said that long Covid is very challenging to study as it is not clearly defined, having been linked to more than 200 symptoms of varying severity and duration.
There have been various estimates of its prevalence.
In the United States, for instance, data collected in the first two weeks of June by its Centres for Disease Control and Prevention showed that nearly one in five adults still has long Covid symptoms lasting at least three months after their infection.
Last week, a team of Singapore and international researchers published a paper in the British Medical Journal which found that about 5 per cent of the global population may develop long-term issues with their sense of smell or taste after coming down with Covid-19.
In the Lancet study, the core symptoms recorded were chest pain, breathing difficulties, pain when breathing, painful muscles, loss of taste and/or smell, tingling hands or feet, a lump in the throat, alternately feeling hot and cold, heavy arms and/or legs and general tiredness.
The severity of these symptoms plateaued three months after infection with no further decline.
Other symptoms that did not significantly increase three to five months after a Covid-19 diagnosis included headache, itchy eyes, dizziness, back pain and nausea, the researchers said.
The participants are from Lifelines, a large, multi-generational cohort study that includes mostly Caucasians above 18, from the northern part of the Netherlands.
The study approach accounted for symptoms that may have been a result of non-infectious aspects of the pandemic, such as stress caused by restrictions and uncertainty, said first author Aranka Ballering in a release on the study.
Prof Rosmalen said that future research on long Covid should include mental health symptoms such as depression and anxiety symptoms, along with additional post-infectious symptoms such as brain fog, insomnia and post-exertional malaise, which is the worsening of symptoms such as exhaustion, pain or cognitive dysfunction after minimal physical or mental activity.
Commenting on the Dutch study, Dr Young said it is very well conducted and has good quality data, particularly longitudinal symptom data, collected before and after acute Covid-19, and symptom data from a control group who did not have Covid-19.
"The importance of this control group for interpreting symptom data is shown by the 40.7 per cent of individuals who had Covid-19 and reported symptoms of moderate severity, and yet so did 29.3 per cent of those who did not have Covid-19," Dr Young said.
"This control group makes it possible to estimate which symptoms can be attributed to long Covid, rather than something else."
In a linked comment to the Dutch study, Professor Christopher Brightling and Dr Rachael Evans of the Institute for Lung Health at the University of Leicester, England, who were not involved in the study, said that current evidence supports the view that long Covid is common and can persist for at least two years, although severe debilitating disease is present in a minority of patients.
SINGAPORE - A 21-year-old man who allegedly used a pair of scissors to stab two people in five hours was charged in court on Thursday (Aug 4) over the offences.
Mohamed Shabiq Mohamed Anwar faces two counts of voluntarily causing hurt by a dangerous weapon.
The victims, a 20-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman who were known to Shabiq, suffered multiple injuries and were taken to a hospital.
Shabiq is said to have stabbed Mr Lim Rayen at the open carpark of Block 212 Serangoon Avenue 4 with a pair of scissors at around 8.20pm on Tuesday.
Mr Lim suffered multiple cuts and puncture wounds.
Then at about 12.30am on Wednesday, Shabiq allegedly stabbed Ms Pebbles Ramakrishna along Punggol Seventeenth Avenue with the same pair of scissors.
She suffered multiple cuts from the attack.
The police said they responded to the first attack at around 8.30pm.
Shabiq fled the scene in a vehicle with Ms Pebbles before the police arrived. He was identified with the help of police cameras.
Officers from Ang Mo Kio Police Division found the vehicle in a multi-storey carpark at Northshore Drive in Punggol.
Officers from the K-9 unit of the Special Operations Command mounted a search for the couple in the area.
"The couple were eventually spotted hiding at the back of a lorry parked along Punggol Seventeenth Avenue," said the police.
Ms Pebbles was found with multiple injuries from an alleged attack by Shabiq over a dispute.
Shabiq was arrested within five hours of the first attack, said the police, who added that both victims are in a stable condition.
For each count of voluntarily causing hurt by a dangerous weapon, Shabiq can be jailed for up to seven years, fined and caned.
He will appear in court again on Aug 11.
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