Boss of wooden case-making firm fined $60k, banned from employing foreign workers

Ng Boon Cheng, 55, was fined $60,000 and banned from hiring foreign workers for his wooden case-making firm.
Ng Boon Cheng, 55, was fined $60,000 and banned from hiring foreign workers for his wooden case-making firm. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - The managing director of Lian Lee Wooden Case Maker Co was on Tuesday (Nov 22) fined $60,000 for collecting kickbacks from his foreign workers.

The fine for Ng Boon Cheng, 55, was in default of 18 weeks' imprisonment, the Manpower Ministry (MOM) said in a press release on Wednesday.

In addition, the ministry banned Ng from employing foreign workers.

Ng pleaded guilty to collecting kickbacks amounting to more than $93,000 over a three-year period - from Nov 9, 2012, to October 2015.

He would conduct interviews with his workers before the renewal of their work permits were due, during which he informed them they had to pay renewal fees in order to continue their employment with the company.

 

The fees would be deducted from their monthly salaries.

They were also informed that if they did not agree to the deductions, their permits would not be renewed.

A total of 20 foreign workers were involved, with sums ranging from $575 to $9,000 deducted from their salaries.

Mr Kevin Teoh, the divisional director at MOM's foreign manpower management division, said: "The collection of kickbacks is a criminal activity and strong enforcement action will be taken.

"Such illegal practices must be stopped as they undermine the financial well-being of the foreign workers who have no choice but to agree to such arrangements. Errant employers will be barred from employing foreign workers."