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Bazaar operators faces 19 charges for hiring foreigners without valid Work Passes

  1. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) charged a 40-year-old Singaporean man, Sao Wei Loon (Sao), in the State Courts today for hiring 19 foreigners without valid work passes to work at pasar malams (night markets) in Singapore last year.
  2. If convicted, he faces a fine of between $5,000 and $30,000 or up to 12 months’ imprisonment, or to both, per charge under Section 5(1) of the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA) for each illegally employed foreigner.

    Facts of the Case
  3. Investigations revealed that Sao hired a total of 19 Indonesian nationals without valid work passes to work illegally as stall assistants at three pasar malams. The illegal employment period ranged from three days to more than three weeks, and the offence was committed between 1 June and 16 September 2016.
  4. The case against Sao has been adjourned to 20 June 2017 in Court 23 at 10.30 am.

    Tough Stance against Illegal Employment
  5. In a separate case, a former director and a current director of a logistics company, S K Yap Construction, were convicted on 2 May 2017 for conspiring to hire 10 foreign workers without valid work passes. Each director was fined in total $79,000, in default 33 weeks’ imprisonment. The offenders were also banned from employing foreign workers.

    Advisory from MOM
  6. Under the EFMA, employers are not allowed to hire any foreigner without first obtaining a valid work pass. Employers who flout the law can be fined a maximum of $30,000 or up to 12 months’ imprisonment, or to both. They will also be banned from employing foreign workers.
  7. Foreigners working in Singapore must hold a valid work pass, and those working in bazaars or pasar malams are not exempted from this requirement. MOM conducts inspections from time to time.
  8. Members of the public with information about illegal employment offences can report the matter to MOM at (65) 6438 5122 or e-mail All information will be kept strictly confidential.