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SINGAPORE -The Food Ministry (MOF) which once owned 80 Singapore restaurants, including Dae-SsikSin, Hanssik and Ju Hao, will close after it fails to settle a $200,000 debt.

In 2019 the sum was a non-interest loan by Chua Ngak Hwee.In March, after failing to repay the debt, MOF was sued, and on April 9, his application to wind up the enterprise was approved by the High Court.

The Straits Times reported that the High Court was asked in January for a $4.8 million arbitration award from MOF by Lee Je Young, a Korean businessman along with three others.

Tam Chee Chong, the director of Kairos Corporate Advisory, is appointed the liquidator for the closing company and told him that he knew the $4.8 million claim.He confirmed that all MOF-owned restaurants had ceased to operate.

Ministry Food Closing Down

DaeSsikSin is still available, but works under a different business name, a Korean BBQ buffet at the Orchard Gateway: Master Kitchen concepts (MKC).

MKC is owned by Dr Ting choon Meng, MOF’s director between 2016 and 2018, according to records provided by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority. Dr. Ting is also Health Stats co-founder with Chua.

Ministry Food Closing Down
Image Source: The Straits Times

Lena Sim, founder of MOF, reportedly experienced difficulties with paying suppliers, renting and staff costs last year.

Her problems also include a botched business transaction in 2017, in which she paid just $700,000 for a Korean restaurant chain that had agreed to sell for $5.5 million, resulting in the $4.8 million lawsuit.

The plaintiffs were granted a Mareva Injunction against Sim in February, freezing her assets up to the value of $4.8 million. She said that she was unable to pay her tenants, vendors, and employees as a result of this. 

MOF’s financial troubles were exacerbated last year by the Covid-19 pandemic, which resulted in a 35% decline in results across its restaurants.

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Source: The Straits Times

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