S'pore: Man charged in IPC family extortion case

A debt-collector from Kuala Lumpur has been charged with attempted extortion from the Ngiam family, which runs Singapore's IT company IPC.

SINGAPORE--A debt-collector from Kuala Lumpur was charged with attempted extortion from IPC’s Ngiam family yesterday.

Yap Kok Foy is alleged to have sent an envelope to IPC Corporation Ltd executive director Bernard Ngiam, with two bullets and a cassette, on which was recorded a demand for S$640,000 (US$365,831).

The recording said the cash was a gambling debt run up by Ngiam's eldest brother, David.

The Ngiam family runs locally-listed IPC, an e-services, e-platform and infocomm technology player. Among the brothers, Patrick is chairman and CEO, Benjamin is managing director, while Alfred is chief technological officer. David was involved in the company for about a decade, but left in July 1999, and is now unemployed. According to The Straits Times , David has denied any knowledge of a gambling debt.

IPC, which was founded in 1985, was among the first local IT companies, and was once one of the largest computer companies on the island. However, it has fallen into hard times, with debts from ventures gone wrong. In November 1999, it was put under judicial management to protect it from creditors.

Yap was arrested last Friday by the Malaysian police, after Bernard Ngiam made a report. A bookie, said to be from a horse-racing club and the man who provided the bullets were arrested on Monday. They will be charged today.

The penalty for extortion is seven years' imprisonment.

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