ICA arrests 29 people for immigration offences

SINGAPORE - Officers from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) arrested 29 people on Tuesday for immigration offences.

Twenty-six were overstayers from China or India, aged between 26 and 62 years old.

One of the remaining three arrested was a work permit holder who was caught possessing duty unpaid cigarettes. The remaining two were arrested under suspicion of harbouring illegal immigrants or overstayers.

Investigations are ongoing. If charged, the overstayers can face a jail term of up to six months and a minimum of three strokes of the cane.

Those found guilty of harbouring overstayers or illegal immigrants intentionally or recklessly may be sentenced to a jail term of between six months and two years. They will also face a fine up to $6,000.

If found to have unknowingly or negligently harboured offenders, a homeowner will face a fine of up to $6,000, up to 12 years' jail, or both.

The ICA arrested a total of 2,040 immigration offenders last year, a 19 per cent decrease from 2013. Out of those arrested, 1,690 were overstayers. The remaining 350 were illegal immigrants.

Last year, the ICA also arrested 319 harbourers and employers of immigration offenders. The same year, they detected a total of 93,380 cases of contraband smuggling.