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Unlicensed Employment Agent Fined $60,000

Recalcitrant is first repeat offender to face stiffer fine under the revised Employment Agencies Act

26 November 2012

  1. A 45-year-old Singaporean man, Samuel Tang Yong Meng, was sentenced to a fine of $60,000 or in default two months’ jail in the Subordinate Courts today for carrying on an employment agency (EA) without a licence. He is the first repeat offender to be convicted for operating an unlicensed EA under the revised Employment Agencies Act (EAA), which came into effect in April 2011.
  2. In September 2007, Tang was convicted in court for operating an unlicensed EA and was fined $2,000. Tang, who was charged in Court on 22 March this year, pleaded guilty before District Judge Lim Tze Haw and was convicted on 15 November. Under the revised EAA, Tang now faced harsher penalties for the same offence.

    Facts of the case
  3. Between April and May 2011, Tang had sourced and placed China nationals for employment in Singapore. As part of his modus operandi, he approached two different food stalls – Kassim’s Restaurant Pte. Ltd. and M S Niyas Pte. Ltd., and asked if they required China nationals to work at their stalls. When they said they did, Tang proceeded to engage an unknown employment agent in China to source for suitable workers.
  4. Tang later received several biodata from his China counterpart and recommended suitable candidates to the two prospective employers for employment. Thereafter, he furnished the foreigners’ particulars to them to apply for work passes. Upon approval of their work passes, Tang fetched the foreigners from the airport and arranged their medical examination before handing them over to the employers to commence employment.
  5. In addition, Tang had also liaised with one “May” from Yong Bak Kut Teh food stall to employ a China worker. He asked for the owner’s SingPass details and proceeded to make a work pass application for a China national whom he had sourced from his China agent. He also sent the foreign employee for thumb printing, medical examination and collection of the work permit card.
  6. By rendering these services which he was not licensed to carry out, Tang received a sum of between $800 and $1,200 as “service fee” from the unknown agent in China for each successful foreign employee placed. After purchasing medical insurance for the foreigners, Tang kept the balance.
  7. Under the revised EAA, any person who operates or abets an unlicensed employment agency is punishable with a fine of up to $80,000 and up to 24 months’ jail, or both. For subsequent convictions, a fine of up to $160,000 and up to 48 months’ jail, or both, will be imposed.

    Diligent investigation paid off
  8. Mr Aw Kum Cheong (区锦章), Commissioner for Employment Agencies (雇佣代理总监), MOM, said, "Unlicensed EAs are illegal and they are not bound by rules which protect the interests of employers and workers. Employers must also ensure they use only MOM-licensed employment agencies - otherwise they are also in breach of the EAA and enforcement action will be taken against them. The revised EAA with its strict penalties aims to deter those who intend to conduct such unlicensed employment activities. Tang’s case shows that those who do so will be caught and severely punished. As the lead agency to uphold the credibility and professional standards of the EA industry, MOM will proactively step up enforcement and take strong punitive actions against those who act against the law, especially repeat offenders.”
  9. A Singaporean woman, Chua Mei Chern, 39, was sentenced to 10 weeks on 12 June 2012 for operating an unlicensed EA. This was the highest sentence meted out by the Court for a first time offender. The first person convicted as a principal offender under the revised EAA was a Filipino, De Luna Noriza Dancel. She was fined $50,000 on 31 January 2012 for the same offence. Since April 2011, a total of five persons have been convicted under the revised EAA.

    Use Only Licensed Employment Agents
  10. The public are advised to use only MOM-licensed employment agents for their employment needs. To protect their interests, they are encouraged to verify the legitimacy of the EA through the EA Directory on the MOM website at Members of the public who are aware of any individuals or EAs that are operating without a licence should contact MOM at (65)6438 5122 or email All information will be kept strictly confidential.