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Update on Tipper Case; MOM Prosecutes Four Employers

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is prosecuting Loke Siew Fai (Director, Tipper Corp Pte Ltd) and Paul Lee Chiang Theng (Director, Gates Offshore Pte Ltd, Goldrich Venture Pte Ltd and S1 Engineering Pte Ltd) today (19 March 2009) for failing to pay the salaries of their foreign workers on time. MOM will also prosecute Loke, Lee, Sockalingam Uthayanan of UPNB Engineering Pte Ltd and Han Meng Siew of Ensure Engineering Pte Ltd for their involvement in the illegal deployment of foreign workers hired by Tipper to other companies (Please see Annex for chronology of events).

2.   The four employers face the following charges for infringements under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA):



Person Charged




Number of charges under EFMA


Lok Siew Fai @ Loke Siew Fai





Tipper Corp Pte Ltd



·       60 for failure to pay salary

·       20 for abetting Paul Lee in illegal employment

·       20 for abetting Uthayanan in illegal employment

·       45 for providing false information for purpose of hiring phantom workers


Paul Lee Chiang Theng





S1 Engineering Pte Ltd


Gates Offshore


Goldrich Venture



·        20 for illegal employment of Tipper's workers

·        50 for failure to pay salary to Gates Offshore workers

·        23 for failure to pay salary to Goldrich Venture workers

·        7 for failure to provide acceptable accommodation


Sockalingam Uthayanan




UPNB Engineering Pte Ltd



·           20 for illegal employment of Tipper Corp Pte Ltd's workers


Han Meng Siew



Ensure Engineering Pte Ltd 





·             3 for illegal employment of Tipper Corp Pte Ltd's workers



3.   For the affected foreign workers, MOM had earlier assisted them with their salary claims. MOM facilitated the repatriation of the majority of the workers who chose to return home, after ensuring that all outstanding employment issues had been resolved. A small number (about 50 workers) were able find alternative employment in the marine sector, and were thus granted work permits to work for their new employer.

MOM Advisory

4.    MOM has stepped up ground operations to detect and bring to book employers who have committed offences such as illegal employment, providing unacceptable accommodation and failing to pay salaries. MOM has put in place early intervention measures to identify employers who may be facing financial difficulties, while our employment inspectors also carry out daily inspections at workplaces and workers' quarters islandwide. Employers who no longer have any work for their workers must be prepared to continue paying their salaries, or cancel the work permits and send the workers home. Workers who face salary arrears should report them to MOM as soon as possible, as delays can lead to the accumulation of larger arrears.

5.   "The accused employers deliberately brought in workers for which there was no prospect of regular work, failed to provide for their proper maintenance through non-payment of salaries for months and housed them in unacceptable accommodation. We will keep up our operations on the ground against such errant employers, and ensure that they face the full consequences of their actions under the law," said Aw Kum Cheong, Divisional Director of the Foreign Manpower Management Division.

Penalties for errant employers

6.   Failure to pay salaries on time, or to provide acceptable housing, are all serious offences under the EFMA. Those convicted can be fined up to $5,000 or jailed for up to six months or both, for each foreign worker.

7.   For illegal employment, a first-time offender faces a fine up to $15,000 or imprisonment of up to one year, or both, for each foreign worker. They will also have to repay the levy evaded. For the second and subsequent conviction, the penalty will be a mandatory jail sentence of 1 to 12 months, in addition to a fine of up to $15,000.

8.   Anyone with specific information of such employment offences should immediately report them to MOM at (65) 64385122 or via email at mom_fmmd@mom.gov.sg.