A man facing multiple cheating charges relating to the misappropriation of more than $40 million has succeeded in persuading the High Court to reduce his bail amount from $4 million to $1 million.
Ewe Pang Hooi, a 61-year old Malaysian and Singapore permanent resident, faces 693 charges relating to cheating, criminal breach of trust, forgery, making false declarations, and using the benefits of his crimes at casinos.
The Prosecution argued that the bail amount of $4 million was necessary because there was a serious risk of Ewe absconding given the fact he has no roots in Singapore and this sum was appropriate given the seriousness of charges and the enormous amount of money involved.
However, Ewe’s criminal defence lawyers countered that at Ewe was not a serious flight risk, referring to the fact that he has lived in Singapore for more than 30 years and has cooperated with Police investigations for the past two years.
The High Court observed that although the Prosecution often requests for bail to be set at an amount which is very difficult and almost impossible to raise in cases involving accused persons who are a high flight risk it would be wrong to fix bail at a sum so “prohibitive” that it was as good as denying bail. The Court also added that this principle and practice of requesting for such unreasonably and unnecessarily high amounts of bail was wrong because not only was the bail coming from the surety and the bailor, the amount of bail should also simply be sufficient to ensure that the bailor does his job to compel the person bailed to attend court as and when required.
More information on the case may be found here.