Unlicensed employment agent who found jobs for foreigners fined $20,000

An unlicenced employment agent who secured entertainment jobs for three Chinese nationals was fined $20,000 on Tuesdays. If he defaults, he will be jailed for six weeks.

Using the pseudonym 'Xiao Bai', Lee Jen Hao, 33, who is Singaporean, approached the foreigners between April and May last year and offered to help them find jobs in exchange for a fee. He received between $1,500 and $4,000 from each of the foreigners.

Lee then approached nightspots representing the foreigners, He also facilitated the employment process by fetching the foreigners from the airport, bringing them for medical check-ups, taking their photos and collecting their work passes.

For engaging Lee as an employment agent, two employers - Teo Chin Chai, director of Pub KG, and Phang Ti Hui, manager of Golden Crystal Nightclub Entertainment - were warned and given composition fine by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). The composition amount is typically up to $5,000.

Under the Employment Agencies Act (EAA), Lee could have been fined up to $80,000 and jailed up to 24 months or both for operating an unlicensed employment agency.

Any person who engages the services of an unlicensed employment agent can also be fined up to $5,000.

Since the amended EAA took effect in April 2011, seven unlicensed employment agents were convicted in 2012. Including Lee, three have been convicted so far this year.