21 suspects arrested for overstaying in Singapore, employing immigration offenders

Some of the 21 suspects arrested for immigration-related offences during an operation across Singapore between July 29, 2019, and Aug 1, 2019.
Some of the 21 suspects arrested for immigration-related offences during an operation across Singapore between July 29, 2019, and Aug 1, 2019.PHOTOS: IMMIGRATION & CHECKPOINTS AUTHORITY

SINGAPORE - Officers from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) arrested 21 suspects during an operation between Monday (July 29) and Thursday for immigration-related offences, including overstaying and employing immigration offenders.

The suspects, 20 men and a woman aged between 21 and 55, include Bangladeshi, Nepalese, Sri Lankan and Vietnamese nationals as well as three Singaporeans and a Singapore permanent resident.

Officers from ICA arrested the suspects in different locations, including residential and commercial premises in Bedok, Bugis, Changi, Little India, Pasir Ris and Serangoon.

Some of the suspected immigration offenders were found engaging in construction work or working in the food and beverage sector.

Under the Immigration Act, those convicted of overstaying or illegal entry may be jailed up to six months and may receive a minimum of three strokes of the cane. Those convicted of illegal departure may be jailed up to six months, fined a maximum of $2,000, or both.

ICA also said it takes a firm stance against those who harbour immigration offenders.

"Those who wish to rent their premises must exercise due diligence in checking the status of their prospective foreign tenants to ensure that their status in Singapore is legal," it said.

Those who wish to rent out their premises must carry out three diligence checks: checking the tenant's original immigration or work pass; cross-checking the particulars on the pass with the particulars in the tenant's original passport; and verifying the validity of the pass with ICA or the Ministry of Manpower.

Suspects found guilty of conducting only one of the three checks or knowingly harbouring overstayers and illegal immigrants may be jailed for six months to two years, and fined up to $6,000.

Those found guilty of conducting two of the three checks and harbouring overstayers and illegal immigrants may be jailed up to one year, or fined a maximum of $6,000.