05 December 2018

Wine case was corked

Wine merchants in Singapore suing buyers of wine stolen by ex-employee sentenced to jail but without restitution element.

One of Singapore's oldest wine and spirits merchants is suing buyers who bought stolen wine from ex-employee.

$7m price tag

Hock Tong Bee is suing to recover wines or payments from buyers who bought wines stolen by an ex-employee, with claims going as high as 900,000 Singapore dollars. The firm’s former relationship manager Luciana Lim Ying Ying, who worked at the wine merchants between 2011 and 2013, sold some 15,000 bottles of stolen alcohol worth $7 million to clients and kept the income. The retail price of the wines ranged from $65 to $8,673 a bottle.

No restitution

Ms Lim was was sentenced to seven years in jail and fined $30,000 in 2015, but there had been no restitution element in her sentencing. Ms Lim had sold the wines to clients under the ruse that she was using staff discounts or representing another Hock Tong Bee customer who had run into financial trouble and looking to sell the wines cheaply. The wines were sold at prices about 40 per cent to 50 per cent below market rate. A police investigation recovered 1,102 bottles from buyers.