Fugitive Vietnamese tycoon remains in Singapore, lawyer says

  • A Vietnamese tycoon detained in Singapore last week remains in the city-state, easing his family's immediate fears that he could face the death penalty if he were sent back home
  • Phan Van Anh Vu, 42, a property developer and former secret service officer, is wanted in Vietnam for revealing state secrets
  • Singapore has no extradition treaty with Vietnam, but the island nation's immigration authority has the power to repatriate people under certain circumstances
A tourist boat travels past the city skyline in Singapore, on July 12, 2017.
Nicky Loh | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A tourist boat travels past the city skyline in Singapore, on July 12, 2017.

A Vietnamese tycoon detained in Singapore last week remains in the city-state, one of his lawyers said on Wednesday, easing his family's immediate fears that he could face the death penalty if he were sent back home.

Phan Van Anh Vu, 42, a property developer and former secret service officer who media say is wanted in Vietnam for revealing state secrets, was detained in Singapore on Thursday as he tried to leave for Malaysia.

Remy Choo, one of at least three lawyers representing Vu, told Reuters that Singapore's immigration authority had agreed to let him see his client for the first time later on Wednesday. Vu's lawyers said on Tuesday they had applied for his passage to Germany to avoid being sent to Vietnam, where serious security offences such as revealing state secrets, can carry the death penalty.

Singapore has no extradition treaty with Vietnam but its immigration authority has the power to repatriate people under certain circumstances, according to the city-state's Immigration Act.

A representative of Singapore's Immigration and Checkpoints Authority said on Tuesday Vu was arrested on Dec. 28 "for committing offences under the Immigration Act".

Vu's case adds a new international dimension to a Vietnamese corruption crackdown that has brought the arrest of dozens of officials and business figures and is entangled with political intrigues in the single-party communist state.