Man Convicted for Illegally Employing and Harbouring an Immigration Offender
On 11 September 2023, Poh Jinxiang (“Poh”), a 41-year-old Singaporean man and Director of Exclaim Pte. Ltd. (“Exclaim”), was convicted for offences under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (“EFMA”) and the Immigration Act (“IA”). He was sentenced to a fine of $8000, and nine months and two weeks' imprisonment for the EFMA and IA offences respectively on 25 September 2023. Poh had illegally employed a 27-year-old Malaysian female, Han Shez Lyii Michelle (“Michelle”), without a valid work pass and harboured her in his residence. Poh had also obstructed Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (“ICA”) officers in the execution of their duties by providing false information on her whereabouts.
2 On 22 June 2023, Michelle was convicted and fined $5,000 (in default of 20 days’ imprisonment) for working without a valid work pass. She was also administered a stern warning for her overstaying offence, and has since been deported and barred from re-entering Singapore.
3 Michelle last entered Singapore on 19 October 2020 on a 30-day social visit pass and subsequently resided at Poh’s place of residence. She did not depart Singapore or extend her stay when her social visit pass expired on 18 November 2020. On 28 December 2021, ICA officers conducted checks and arrested Poh at his place of residence. Poh claimed that he had not contacted Michelle and that she did not have a local contact number. However, he had asked her to go to their mutual friend’s residence to avoid being arrested, and deleted her contact details from his phone. Michelle was subsequently located and arrested the next day for remaining in Singapore unlawfully after her visit pass expired.
4 In 2020, Poh had employed Michelle as an Executive Interior Director for Exclaim. She did not have a valid work pass. Her work pass application in 2020 and subsequent appeal were rejected by the Controller of Work Passes.
5 Under the EFMA, any person caught employing a foreigner without a valid work pass shall be liable on conviction to a fine between $5,000 and $30,000, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both.
6 Members of the public who are aware of suspicious employment activities, or who know of persons or employers who have contravened the EFMA, should report the matter to the Ministry of Manpower at 6438 5122 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Members of public should also report suspected cases of immigration offenders to ICA at https://go.gov.sg/icafeedbackio. All information will be kept strictly confidential.
7 ICA takes a firm stance against any person who harbour immigration offenders. If any person is found guilty of recklessly or knowingly harbouring overstayers and/or illegal immigrants, he/she may be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not less than six months and not more than two years and a fine not exceeding S$6,000. If any person is found guilty of negligently harbouring overstayers and/or illegal immigrants, he may be sentenced to a fine not exceeding S$6,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both.