Pub owner jailed for paying bribes to prolong stay of workers

SINGAPORE - A pub owner who paid bribes to prolong the stay of foreign hostesses working for him was jailed for eight months on Wednesday.

Andrew Song Meng Choon, 51, had employed the Filipinos at his Bonski Karaoke pub in River Valley Road, even though they were only in Singapore on 30-day visit passes.

On five occasions in 2011, he handed over sums amounting to $2,800 to a middleman. The money found its way to corrupt Immigration and Checkpoints Authority officers, who would help the foreigners do a "U-turn".

In a "U-turn" case, the foreigner exits Singapore to a nearby country, such as Malaysia, and re-enters the country within the same day, or a short time later, to get a fresh social visit pass.

Song paid for four women to have their passes extended, including one who did not work for him. Three had their stays prolonged on two different occasions.

Five men, all former ICA officers, have already been dealt with for taking part in the scheme. Four of them each received four months' jail, while the mastermind got 21 months in prison. The middleman died from lung cancer in Oct 2011.

Song pleaded guilty to two of five charges, with the rest taken into consideration. He could have been jailed for up to five years and fined up to $100,000 for each count he faced.

He is appealing the sentence.