A Singaporean man was convicted and sentenced to four weeks’ imprisonment and fined SGD16,000 for offences under the Immigration Act and Women’s Charter, said the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) today.
The erring man, Ong Ee Meng, was convicted and jailed for harbouring an immigration offender on August 20.
“Investigations revealed that Ong had sublet an apartment unit to a 43-year-old female Chinese national overstayer, Liu Hui, knowing that she would be staying and using the premises to provide sexual services. Liu has been dealt with for her overstaying offence, and has since been repatriated,” said ICA in a press release issued today.
ICA said Liu arrived in Singapore on March 11, 2018 to work as a performing artist but chose to work as a freelance masseur. She continued to remain in Singapore to work illegally upon the expiry of her visit pass on March 25, 2018.
On April 26, 2018, ICA officers conducted a check at the apartment unit and arrested Liu, who had overstayed in Singapore for 32 days. ICA officers also arrested Ong for harbouring her.
Ong claimed that Liu told him she was in Singapore on a two-year singer’s permit, but he did not ask her for her work pass or passport for verification. Ong also knew that Liu was using the premises for vice activities and admitted to have engaged her services.
“As Ong did not conduct any due diligence checks, he had committed an offence of harbouring an immigration offender recklessly under the Immigration Act. He had also committed offences under the Women’s Charter,” said ICA.
Under the Immigration Act (Cap 133), the penalties for overstaying or illegal entry are a jail term of up to six months plus a minimum of three strokes of the cane.
“Homeowners are advised to exercise due diligence in checking the status of their prospective foreign tenants to ensure that their status in Singapore is legal,” said ICA.
Those who wish to rent their premises to foreigners are required to conduct the three mandatory checks:
(a) Check his/her original immigration/work pass; (b) Cross check the particulars on his/her pass against the particulars on his/her original passport; and (c) Verify the validity of his/her pass by checking with the issuing authority.
If the homeowner is found guilty of recklessly (i.e. carrying out only one of the three due diligence checks) or knowingly harbouring overstayers and/or illegal immigrants, he may be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not less than six months and not more than two years and a fine not exceeding SGD6,000.
If a homeowner is found guilty of negligently (i.e. carrying out only two of the three due diligence checks) harbouring overstayers and/or illegal immigrants, he may be sentenced to a fine not exceeding SGD6,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both.