Singapore boss of bankrupt Five Stars Tours asks staff: “Will you hate me?”

Five Stars Tours closure leaves employees, customers in limbo

20140110_fivestarstours-boss_Shinmin(1)

WHAT NEXT? (L) Mr Lim Cheng Chuan, a director of the company. (R) Affected customers at a Five Stars Tours outlet.

By Linette Heng, Koh Hui Theng

The New Paper | Sun, Jan 12 2014

SINGAPORE – “Will you hate me?”

That was what Mr Lim Cheng Chuan, a director of troubled Five Stars Tours, asked his employees as he apologised profusely to them, reported Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao. The employees, who were apparently moved to tears, described their boss as a man who values his staff and provides them with career opportunities. The company, which had eight outlets islandwide, is believed to have about 200 employees.Ninety-six of them approached the Ministry of Manpower to file salary claims yesterday.

At the Five Stars Tours head office at People’s Park Complex, employees were seen leaving with suitcases at about 4pm on Wednesday.

They had changed out of their work uniforms and were solemn as they left, reported Wanbao.

Five Stars Tours shocked many when it suddenly closed down at about 3pm on Wednesday. It had been one of the biggest and oldest names in the travel industry here.

The company also announced that it will be undergoing liquidation, the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) said.

The shutdown was not listed on the Travel Related Users’ System (Trust) website, a portal which lists licensed travel agents in Singapore.

FORMAL LETTER

Ms Ong Ling Lee, the director of travel agents and tourist guides for the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), said travel agents have to submit a formal letter which states a cessation of operations before they are listed on the Trust website’s list of agents which are no longer operational.

“STB has yet to receive this formal letter from Five Stars Tours. We were also not kept informed of its closure,” she said.

Case president Lim Biow Chuan said that the organisation has written to the directors of Five Stars Tours, asking them to clarify their position and how they plan to address the problem of consumers left in the lurch.

There was no one at home when The New Paper visited Mr Lim ‘s apartment in the business district yesterday afternoon.

His neighbour said the Lim family largely kept to themselves.

“I’ve been living here for more than 10 years and I didn’t know he was the boss of Five Stars until this year when a friend told me,” she said.

Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority of Singapore records showed Ms Jenny Lim Soon Ean as the other director of Five Stars Tours.

According to various reports, Mr Lim and Ms Lim were at a police station till late on Wednesday night.

A police spokesman said a report has been lodged and the matter was being investigated.

It is understood that the report was made by a member of the public.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: