Sham marriage: Web of middlemen behind bogus union

SHAM UNION: Soh and Dang were arrested six months after they exchanged their vows. MIDDLEMAN: Tan got nine months' jail.
SHAM UNION: Soh and Dang were arrested six months after they exchanged their vows. MIDDLEMAN: Tan got nine months' jail.
SHAM UNION: Soh and Dang were arrested six months after they exchanged their vows. MIDDLEMAN: Tan got nine months' jail.
SHAM UNION: Soh and Dang were arrested six months after they exchanged their vows. MIDDLEMAN: Tan got nine months' jail.
SHAM UNION: Soh and Dang were arrested six months after they exchanged their vows. MIDDLEMAN: Tan got nine months' jail.
SHAM UNION: Soh and Dang were arrested six months after they exchanged their vows. MIDDLEMAN: Tan got nine months' jail.

The complex web that can lead to a bogus marriage is clear from the union of Vietnamese national Dang Thi Hoang, 28, and Singaporean Soh Chin Chai, 38.

Dang was eager to secure a job here in February last year so she approached her Vietnamese friend Yen, when she was still in Vietnam, for help.

Yen - whose identity has not been established by the authorities - suggested that she could get married to a Singaporean man.

The man, Yen had said, would sponsor her visit pass applications to enable her to prolong her stay here to secure employment.

Dang said yes, and flew to Singapore the same month to meet Yen's contact, a Vietnamese woman known to the authorities only as Ngoc, at a coffee shop in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4.

Ngoc told Dang that she would not need to have sex or live with the Singaporean, and could make all the necessary arrangements for a price of $7,500.

The same month, Soh, whose occupation is unknown, had approached Singapore citizen Tan Wee Choon, 39, for financial help.

Tan, who goes by the nickname "San Pien", proposed that Soh enter a sham marriage, introducing him to yet another intermediary, a Vietnamese woman by the name of Angau.

Angau told Soh that he would earn $2,700 as part of the deal, and $400 for each successful visit pass application. Tan was paid $500 for recommending Soh.

Soh first met his future wife in a meeting arranged by the intermediaries at the coffee shop. On March 26 last year, they exchanged their vows at Inspired By Luv Cafe in Fort Canning.

The couple were arrested six months later. Soh was jailed for six months, while Dang, also convicted of making false statements on official documents, was jailed for eight months. Tan was jailed for nine months.

The whereabouts of Yen, Ngoc and Angau are unknown.

WALTER SIM