Skip to main content

Bazaar operator fined for hiring foreigners without valid Work Passes

  1. A 40-year-old Singaporean man, Sao Wei Loon (Sao), pleaded guilty in the State Courts on 27 June 2017, for hiring 19 foreigners without valid work passes to work at pasar malams (night markets) last year.
  2. He was convicted of eight charges and fined $72,000, with 11 other charges taken into consideration for sentencing purposes. Sao will serve the default sentence of six months’ imprisonment in lieu of the fine.

    Facts of the Case
  3. Investigations revealed that Sao hired a total of 19 social visit pass holders to work illegally as stall assistants at three pasar malams, located at Geylang Serai, Tampines and Toa Payoh. The stalls were selling food and beverages. 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.

    Tough Stance against Illegal Employment
  4. Commenting on the case, Mr Kandhavel Periyasamy, Director of Employment Inspectorate at MOM’s Foreign Manpower Management Division, said, “This is a particularly egregious case of illegal employment as Sao had illegally employed large number of foreigners on social visit pass. We will continue to take tough enforcement action against employers who illegally employ foreigners.”
  5. In the last two years, 109 employers were convicted for illegal employment offences.

    Advisory from MOM 
  6. Under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act, 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. MOM also works with other agencies to educate and remind the bazaar operators and stall owners to comply with the regulatory requirements of various agencies. 
  9. 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.