Singaporean Chew Sin Jit, 51, was sentenced to five years’ jail and fined S$144,000 on Wednesday (May 11) for conspiring with others to illegally obtain work passes for 46 Chinese nationals using two non-operational shell companies, NCK Construction and All Rounder Builders (ARB). These workers were told to look for their own employment to sustain themselves after coming over to Singapore, as reported in The Straits Times.
According to court documents, Chew, currently an Uber driver according to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), worked with three others -Toh Gim Por, 44, Sim Oon Peng, 38, and Poh Ah Ho, 29, - to obtain work passes for the foreign workers. In her submissions, MOM prosecutor Joanne Wee said that offences as such result in social consequences, as vulnerable foreigners are left to source for their own employment, inevitably illegal employment, at work sites.
"As their official employers, both NCK and ARB were businesses that were not in operation, none of the foreign employees was given any basic upkeep, such as accommodation, nor were they entitled to workmen compensation should any workplace injuries occur," she added.
During the 14-day trial, Toh testified that Chew devised the plot in 2013. The former then convinced Sim to be the director of NCK Construction and Poh as the director of ARB. These directors were promised up to $25,000 each. They would also be given about $1,000 monthly and up to another $1,000 for every work pass application received, Wee shared.
She pointed out: "(Their role) was to sign on applications for work passes in their capacity as directors of the companies before the applications were submitted to the MOM."
Toh admitted that he received up to $6,000 for contributing to the scheme. He pleaded guilty on July 21 2016, and was jailed for three years and four months, with a fine amounting to $15,000. Chew on the other hand, in a plea for a lighter sentence, stated that he wished to appeal. He was offered a bail of $30,000.
In a statement to The Straits Times, MOM revealed that Sim and Poh have yet to be charged in court, and the foreign workers were sent home. Chew was convicted of a total of 46 counts, and for each count, he could have been jailed between six months and two years, and fined up to $6,000.