ICA takes serious view against sham marriages to deceive immigration laws

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) on Tuesday issued a stern warning against individuals looking to enter sham marriages to bypass local immigration laws.

"ICA will not hesitate to take action against those who have submitted their applications under false representations and have their immigration facilities revoked," it said in a statement.

It highlighted a case where Singaporean Quek Mu Lian, 35, and China national Yu Dan, 28, were arrested in December 2012 and sentenced to six weeks and one month in jail respectively for their marriage registered in May last year. Quek, a heavy gambler and unemployed at the time, was tempted to make a quick buck off Yu when she told him that she was keen to stay in Singapore for a longer term. He then abetted Yu to enter a marriage of convenience, and asked her for $15,000. They registered their marriage in May 2012, and Yu obtained a long term visit pass under Quek's sponsorship.

The pair was charged under Sec 57(1)(k) of the Immigration Act, which allows for a maximum penalty of a fine up to $4,000 or a jail term of 12 months, or both. Under the revised Immigration Act for sham marriages registered on or after Dec 19, 2012, however, culprits will be liable for a maximum penalty of a fine up to $10,000 or a jail term of 10 years, or both.

The Straits Times understands that no one has been charged under the revised act.