crime

Chevron’s health and safety specialist admits taking $6,000 bribes to be lenient to sub-contractor, Courts & Crime News & Top Stories

SINGAPORE – A health, environment and safety specialist with Chevron Singapore accepted $6,000 in bribes from a sub-contractor in return for being lenient in supervising his work on the company’s lube oil blending plant.

Cheow Hock Mun, 49, a permanent resident, pleaded guilty on Friday (Oct 9) to two charges of corruption. Another corruption charge will be taken into consideration during sentencing next month.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Eric Hu said Cheow had accepted the money from Lim Gim Chuan, the managing director of LGC Engineering and Contractors, between April and July 2015.

Cheow was in charge of all safety and security matters at the Chevron’s plant in Jalan Buroh, and oversaw the issuing of permits and training of workers at the plant.

There were occasions when he did not approve permits to workers and made several safety checks on site, “many of which were not mandated or required”, said DPP Hu, adding that Cheow had also refused to conduct training for some workers.

The court heard that Cheow had also stopped work for two to three hours and directed materials to be moved to a warehouse, even though these could be barricaded and placed near an excavation site.

“Lim was aware that Cheow was the overall in charge of safety at the lube oil Blending Plant, and that he had the authority to make things difficult by not approving the permits for his workers or by finding faults with them in safety aspects,” said DPP Hu, adding that this would eventually cause delays and financial losses for Lim’s company.

Sometime in April 2015, Lim asked to meet Cheow at the canteen of the oil plant where he offered Cheow $2,000 and asked him to “give a helping hand” in Hokkien, said DPP Hu.

Cheow understood that Lim had meant

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Inmates cook up a storm in Changi catering kitchen as part of training, rehab programme, Courts & Crime News & Top Stories

SINGAPORE – When father-of-two Faruk was sentenced to seven years and 10 months’ jail in 2017 for drug-related offences, he did not expect to find a passion for decorating cakes or learning how to fold pastries while behind bars.

The 38-year-old, who declined to give his full name, spends six days a week in a kitchen as part of his work programme during his incarceration in the Changi Prison Complex.

While his family has yet to try his creations, the former mechanic hopes to make his sons, aged 12 and 13, their favourite strawberry cheesecake, when he is released.

“My family was surprised that I could bake cakes. I could see from their faces that they are happy I’m learning because I have never done this kind of thing before,” said Faruk in a phone interview on Wednesday (Oct 7). “(In the kitchen,) I learnt how to be patient, relax, and come up with more ideas to decorate (the cakes).”

He hopes to work in a pastry shop after his release.

About 30 or so inmates are chosen every year to work in The Changi Tearoom, after they have attended correctional programmes that support their rehabilitation.

They are chosen based on interest or prior experience working in the food and beverage sector. Other programmes include tailoring workshops and working in call centres.

Located in the prison complex, the catering kitchen serves as an industry-standard training ground for offenders.

It is managed by YR Industries, a subsidiary of the Yellow Ribbon Singapore. While the public can usually order catering services from the kitchen, it currently serves only prison staff in the light of Covid-19 safety measures.

Another offender, who wanted to be known only as Michael, said he refined his skills in The Changi Tearoom kitchen.

He is serving a 5½

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Hawaiian defense contractor charged with coronavirus fraud donated to Shaheen | Crime

A Hawaiian defense contractor whose business has offices and employees in Maine has been accused of falsifying loan applications to receive $12.8 million in federal funds from a coronavirus relief program.

Martin Kao was arrested Wednesday and charged with bank fraud and money laundering. The news was first reported by Civil Beat, a Hawaii-based investigative news organization.

According to a 37-page criminal complaint filed by the U.S. Department of Justice, Kao is suspected of lying on two applications to receive funds under the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses, part of the CARES Act passed by Congress in late March to address the pandemic. Maine Sen. Susan Collins was a co-author of the act.

Kao and several of his employees have donated to Collins’ reelection campaign, and the two appeared together in Maine last summer when Collins announced an $8 million federal contract to his company, Navartek LLC, now known as Martin Defense Group.

Investigators believe Kao, when applying for PPP loans, deliberately overstated his company’s need for relief, inflated the number of his employees and used a subsidiary company so that he could apply twice. They also allege Kao transferred $2 million in PPP funds to a personal bank account.

“If you game the system to get money that businesses so desperately need in Hawaii, we will find you, we will expose you and we will hold you accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” Kenj Price, U.S. Attorney for the District of Hawaii, said during a press conference Wednesday announcing the charges against Kao.

The complaint also indicates that Kao told officials at the banks that were delivering the PPP loans that he works closely with multiple unnamed U.S. senators and said some senators or their staff had advised him on the application process.

In one email

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NY GOP campaigning on crime, COVID-19 in nursing homes

After suffering a wave of losses in New York in 2018, Republicans are trying to regain seats by campaigning on statewide themes.

Crime and bail. Nursing homes and COVID-19.

Republicans are trying to tie Democratic candidates to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s controversial policies on nursing homes and the pandemic. In some districts, they’re focusing on Cuomo’s business restrictions. Additionally, they’re looking to score points on recent crime spikes and a new law that eliminated bail for most misdemeanors.

The themes are more often used by Republicans challengers taking on Democratic incumbents or competing for an open seat, rather than by GOP incumbents who are running on their records.

For Republicans, it’s a way to push local issues in a state where Republican President Donald Trump is trailing Democrat Joe Biden — and maybe get some Biden supporters to vote GOP on down-ballot races.

“The number one issue that seems to be resonating right now is public safety and that is concerned with the COVID-19 crisis and business closures and that segues into nursing homes,” said Assemb. Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk). He is running for an open Senate district based at the eastern end of Suffolk County against Democrat Laura Ahearn.

On Friday, Republicans rolled out endorsements by 23 police unions.

Democrats counter that these are variations on the same issues their opponents have deployed for years — and that fueled huge Democratic wins two years ago. Further, they said Trump is the single-biggest factor looming over all the contests.

“It’s not surprising to see them use the same themes they’ve used for decades and that led to historic losses” in 2018, said Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Queens), chairman

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