MANILA, Philippines – The staff of Dr Wilson Sy Lim, the dentist from Daly City, California, charged with conspiring to smuggle illegal weapons from the Philippines to the US, are staying loyal to their employer.
“We’re here with him constantly. 8 hours a day is a long time.”
Lim is one of 4 major suspects facing federal charges after a 5-year-long investigation by federal authorities. Charged along with Lim are California State Senator Leland Yee, alleged Chinatown gang leader Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow, and former San Francisco School Board member Keith Jackson.
“I see him more often than my own family. If he was doing something, we’d know it,” Artika Singh, who works as an assistant at the dental office, told the San Francisco Chronicle. The report said Singh has been working for Lim for 10 years.
Lim is accused of being Yee’s link to what the FBI affidavit describes as “Philippine Muslim” rebel groups and an unidentified military captain, from whom they would allegedly obtain the illegal weapons and carry out a weapons deal allegedly worth at least US$2 million (P90 million). (READ: US gun smuggling: Who is Dr Wilson S. Lim?)
Several attempts by Rappler to contact Lim and his dental office have been unsuccessful as of this writing.
Too sick to be guilty
In an interview with the Chronicle, Singh said, “He can barely walk from here to the end of the street…I see him more often than my family. If he was doing something, we’d know it.”
Lim was released on a $50,000 bail (about P2.25 million). Federal investigators believe Lim, a former San Mateo County commissioner, had previously worked with individuals in trafficking illegal weapons from the Philippines to the US before.
Lim had been in a coma for a month after suffering a major heart attack in 2011 and couldn’t make mortgage payments on his house.
Lim and Yee are known to be close friends. Sources in California told Rappler that whenever Yee would make a public appearance, Lim wasn’t too far behind, but would stay in the background. He was a very elusive personality in the community, often showing up at events without saying much.
Nowadays, it should be easy to find information about anyone by doing an online search. Lim, however, has left a very thin online trail. Not much is known about him except that Lim was originally from Mindanao and had “associates who were trying to overthrow the government of the Philippines and needed money.”
Lim was only an alternative supplier for this particular deal in question (there were several transactions discussed in the affidavit), after the original supplier “who had contacts in Russia, Ukraine, Boston and Southern California fell through because the contact was “tied up with matters related to world affairs.”
Friendship with Yee
Yee was very cautious about revealing Lim as the contact person who would facilitate the weapons deal to the undercover FBI agent. The agent posed as a New Jersey mafia boss. He described Lim as a “gun lover” with “no moral arguments of selling weapons.”
The two friends were reportedly going through some money troubles. Authorities alleged that this conspiracy to traffic weapons stems from Leland Yee’s plan to settle a $70,000 (or about P3 million) campaign debt for his failed bid as San Francisco mayor in 2011. Rappler obtained court documents that showed Lim had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and settled it early last March.
SFGate also reported that a lawsuit was filed by the owner of a building in San Mateo. He was seeking to evict his lessee Lim and collect $150,000 (P6.7 million) in damages. The suit said that Lim built “unpermitted rooms” for a karaoke bar shut down by the police after it was busted for “acts of ill-repute and prostitution.”
The events described in the affidavit contradicted how his staff at the Daly City dental clinic describe him. One dental assistant said Lim was “sweet and generous.”
Lim made an appearance in court last week, but still reportedly still doesn’t have an attorney assigned to him. – Rappler.com