Couple pleads guilty to backdating Option to Purchase to evade higher stamp duties

Victor Kang3 Sep 2021


Daniel Halim and his wife Lee Liu Ying told their agent to backdate the OTP for a unit at Sandy Palm condo to avoid higher ABSD charges. 

A married couple, who wanted to purchase a unit at Sandy Palm condominium, pleaded guilty to backdating an Option to Purchase (OTP) to avoid paying higher Additional Buyer’s Stamp Duty (ABSD), reported Channel News Asia (CNA).

Daniel Halim and his wife Lee Liu Ying already own a condominium in West Coast Crescent as well as an HDB flat in Strathmore Avenue.

They wanted to acquire a fourth-floor Sandy Palm condominium unit in Loyang, which the couple viewed on 7 July 2018.

However, the Singapore Government introduced cooling measures on 5 July 2018, in which the ABSD for Singaporeans purchasing their third and subsequent residential property was raised from 10% to 15%.

With this, the couple told their agent Mu Shen to instigate Loy Thye Wei, the seller’s agent, to backdate the OTP to 4 July.

This comes as residential properties bought on or after 6 July could still qualify for the 10% rate, subject to certain conditions. These included the OTP being granted on or before 5 July.

Halim and Lee told Mu that they would only push through with the transaction if the OTP was backdated since they no longer have enough cash to cover the higher ABSD.

The prosecutor noted that while the couple raised their initial offer for the property by $30,000 from $1.35 million to $1.38 million during their second viewing on 8 July, the transacted price only led to a $1,500 hike in the minimum cash payable.

The date of the option cheque was also backdated by Halim to 4 July to match with the backdated OTP.

Notably, the seller had no knowledge that Loy had backdated the OTP to 4 July.

The amount of ABSD underpaid by Halim and Lee stood at $69,000.

On 12 July this year, Mu had pleaded guilty to abetting by instigating Loy into falsely stating the date of the OTP. Loy is also expected to plead guilty on 3 September.

Meanwhile, the couple will return to court on 10 September for sentencing.


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Victor Kang, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this story, email:


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