$7m watch, $250k Hermes bag among items seized in billion-dollar money laundering raids

SINGAPORE – A $250,000 Hermes Birkin bag and a rare Patek Philippe watch that costs over $7 million on the resale market are said to be among the items seized in raids this week conducted by the police in a billion-dollar money laundering case.

Three industry experts, and those who own businesses reselling such designer goods, said these luxury items are not easily bought.

On Tuesday, 10 foreigners holding passports from countries such as China, Turkey and Cambodia were arrested in an anti-money laundering operation. Cash and assets of about $1 billion were seized, frozen or issued prohibition of disposal orders, which mean they cannot be sold.

The nine men and one woman, aged 31 to 44, were charged on Wednesday over their suspected involvement in offences including forgery, money laundering and resisting arrest. All 10 are originally from Fujian, China.

Another 12 are assisting in investigations, while eight others are on the run and have been placed on a wanted list.

The police said more than 250 luxury bags and watches were seized in the raids.

Photos of the seized designer goods showed rows of extravagant watches, with most priced over $250,000, said Mr William Tan, manager of luxury watch dealer Watch Exchange.

Mr Tan said one watch in the collection appears to be a Sky Moon Tourbillon by Swiss luxury watch manufacturer Patek Philippe, and is expected to fetch a price of over $7 million on the resale market.

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