O.K. Lim's Daughter Charged With Obstruction in Hin Leong Trading Case

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Published Aug 5, 2021 10:23 PM by The Maritime Executive

Lim Huey Ching, the daughter of scandal-hit shipowner and oil trader Lim Oon Kuin, has been charged with obstruction of justice in connection with the investigation into the collapse of the family's sprawling business holdings. 

Lim Oon Kuin, better known as OK Lim, faces 130 charges of forgery, cheating and conspiracy to forge a security in connection with an alleged scheme to defraud lenders. According to prosecutors, OK Lim instructed the staff of his firm, Hin Leong Trading, to forge sales orders in order to fraudulently apply for letters of credit and accounts receivable financing. Hin Leong had been losing money for a long time, prosecutors said, and the financing was intended to keep the company afloat. The fraud allegedly included irregular accounting entries to conceal trading losses.

Ultimately, Hin Leong racked up debts totaling about $3.5 billion. When oil prices collapsed in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Hin Leong's losses became unsustainable and the firm could not meet its obligations. Hin Leong and the family's other firms, including shipowner Ocean Tankers and Xihe Capital, have been taken over by creditors through bankruptcy proceedings and are undergoing liquidation. A judge has given Hin Leong's creditors permission to freeze the Lim family's personal assets in order to increase the chances of recovering the total amount owed.

The new obstruction charge against Lim Huey Ching contends that she ordered Hin Leong's IT manager to "permanently dispose" of backup data for the company's computer servers and to make sure that the wiped data could not be recovered. "Such instructions allegedly took place at a time when Hin Leong was facing probable civil or criminal proceedings," said Singaporean police investigators in a statement.  

If convicted of obstruction of justice, Lim Huey Ching could face a sentence of up to seven years in jail or a fine.