Sham marriage: Married on the day they met to prolong her stay

SHAM MARRIAGE: Tan (left) and Huang were each jailed for six months. 'MATCHMAKER': Soh planned it all.
SHAM MARRIAGE: Tan (left) and Huang were each jailed for six months. 'MATCHMAKER': Soh planned it all.
SHAM MARRIAGE: Tan (left) and Huang were each jailed for six months. 'MATCHMAKER': Soh planned it all.
SHAM MARRIAGE: Tan (left) and Huang were each jailed for six months. 'MATCHMAKER': Soh planned it all.
SHAM MARRIAGE: Tan (left) and Huang were each jailed for six months. 'MATCHMAKER': Soh planned it all.
SHAM MARRIAGE: Tan (left) and Huang were each jailed for six months. 'MATCHMAKER': Soh planned it all.

On the eve of Valentine's Day last year, local odd-job worker Tan Hee Huat met Chinese national Huang Liyun for the first time.

That very day, they got hitched in a no-frills solemnisation ceremony at a ground-floor Housing Board flat in North Bridge Road.

The quick-fire wedding was arranged for the sole purpose of giving Huang, 41, a leg up in prolonging her stay here so that she could secure a job.

Their "matchmaker", Singaporean Soh Leong Soon, 62, who also goes by the alias Sim Kok Eng, attended the ceremony.

In September 2012, Soh had given Tan the idea of entering into a sham marriage as a quick way to make money, after the 53-year-old confided that he was short of cash.

As part of the deal, Tan agreed to sponsor his future wife's visit pass applications and subsequent extensions. He was promised $2,000 as a reward.

Two months later, Soh met Huang when she came to Singapore, and convinced her to enter the marriage for $8,000.

After the Feb 13 ceremony last year, the newly-weds did not consummate their marriage, nor did they live together at Tan's Circuit Road home.

The authorities were not fooled. The couple were nabbed five months later at the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority Building, which they were believed to have been visiting to renew Huang's visit pass.

Tan and Huang were each jailed for six months. For arranging the sham marriage, Soh was sentenced to eight months in jail.

WALTER SIM