SINGAPORE - A woman was jailed for four weeks over bribing a then Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) customer service officer with $1,500 to expedite her application for Singapore permanent resident (PR) status.
On Monday (June 29), Fenny Tey Hui Nee, who is Malaysian, pleaded guilty to one count of corruptly giving a bribe to the then officer in 2017. Court documents state that Tey, 25, is currently a PR.
One other similar charge was taken into consideration by District Judge Marvin Bay during sentencing on the same day.
According to court documents, Tey was in a hurry to obtain her PR status after she found out that she was pregnant.
She had intended to stop working for a year after her child was born, but knew that she would be unable to apply for PR status if she was unemployed.
In July 2017, Tey enquired about the immigration consultancy services offered by a company, Immigration Solutions (Singapore).
Sharon Loo Wai Woon, one of the company's sales consultants, replied that the company would be able to apply for PR status on Tey's behalf, for a fee of $5,000.
Tey did not engage the company's services as she felt that the fee was too high.
She later contacted Loo and asked the sales consultant to help her with her PR application in a personal capacity.
Court documents state that she was hoping to pay Loo less than what Loo's company wanted to charge her for the service.
Loo said she had a cousin working in the ICA, who specialised in helping others with their PR applications.
She added that her cousin could help expedite Tey's application for a fee of $1,500.
Loo then passed Tey the contact details of her mother, Lucy Teo, who was working as a customer service officer in the ICA at the time.
Tey and Teo then met on two occasions in September 2017. Teo said she would be able to expedite Tey's application as she was familiar with the information and documents required.
Teo also said she had helped many foreigners apply for PR status successfully and Tey's application would have a higher chance of success if her services were engaged.
After Tey agreed to Teo's services, both women met two more times - on Sept 28, 2017, and Oct 10, 2017. In each instance, Tey gave $750 in cash to Teo.
Teo subsequently assisted Tey with her application, including filling up a form for her and handing her a file containing all the documents required to be submitted for the application.
Tey was eventually granted PR status on Nov 9, 2018.
For her offence, Tey could have been jailed for up to five years and fined up to $100,000.
The ICA said in an earlier statement that Teo's responsibility as a customer service officer did not involve the processing of PR applications, and she has been interdicted from service since Dec 19, 2018. She also faces charges under the Computer Misuse Act.
She and her daughter, Loo, have been charged with conspiring with each other to receive the bribe from Tey. The cases of both women are still pending.