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Company and Its General Manager Fined and Jailed for Illegal Employment Offences

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has prosecuted a company and its general manager for illegal employment and illegal deployment of foreigners to the conservancy sector.

2.   Poh Kong Environment Services Pte Ltd was fined $321,500 on 28 August 2007 for 25 charges under the Employment of Foreign Workers Act. Another 75 charges were taken into consideration during sentencing. The company's general manager, Mr Chai Poh Kong, was also convicted on 25 charges (with the remaining 61 charges taken into consideration) for abetment of illegal employment offences and furnishing false information1 to the Ministry. He was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment.

Facts of the Case

3.   Investigations by MOM revealed that between Oct 2002 and Aug 2006, Poh Kong Environment Services Pte Ltd and its general manager, Mr Chai Poh Kong, had illegally employed and deployed more than 100 foreign workers (who held work permits to work for other marine companies2), to the conservancy sector to perform sweeping, cleaning and grass-cutting duties. None of the work permit holders held valid work permits to work in the conservancy sector.

4.   This is not the first time Poh Kong Environment Services Pte Ltd and Chai Poh Kong have been charged in court for illegal employment of foreigners without valid work permits. Both were fined $10,500 each for employing a foreigner without a valid work permit in 2002. In view of the repeated offences and the large number of charges in this case, MOM had pressed for a deterrent sentence against the company and Chai Poh Kong.

5.   Mr Aw Kum Cheong, Divisional Director of the Foreign Manpower Management Division, MOM said "We are actively monitoring and stepping up enforcement operations against errant employers who illegally hire or deploy foreign workers, especially in industry sectors where such abuses are known to be more common. Those who flout our work pass regulations will be taken to task by the Ministry."

6.   Any person caught employing foreigners without valid work permits will be charged in court. Since 1 Jul 2007, the penalties for illegal employment offences have been enhanced under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA). A first-time offender faces a fine up to $15,000 for each foreign worker, or imprisonment of up to one year, or both, and this will be over and above the restitution of any levy evaded. For the second and subsequent conviction, the penalty will be a mandatory jail sentence of one to 12 months, in addition to a fine up to $15,000.

7.   The Ministry would also like to urge anyone with specific information on such employment offences to contact MOM at 64385122 or via email at

1 Chai Poh Kong had stated in his statement to the Ministry that there was a conservancy contract signed between Poh Kong Environment and B-Link Contractors when he knew the contracts were fake.
Green-Pac Systems Services, Oceantide Marine & Conservancy Services, Prado General Services and B-Link Contractors.