SINGAPORE - Twelve healthcare firms, who were accused of abetting a self-employed foreign doctor by engaging him at their clinics when he did not have a valid work pass, have had the charges against them withdrawn.
The court gave each of the companies a discharge amounting to an acquittal on Feb 22.
This means they cannot be charged again with the same offences.
In a statement on Thursday (March 3), the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) told The Straits Times that the public prosecutor had directed for the charges against the 12 firms to be withdrawn following representations by the defence.
The 12 companies are: Avermed, CMI Health Services, CMI Lifemed, Health 2.0, Healthway Medical Group, Ihealth, Silver Cross Healthcare, Prohealth Medical Group @ LRT Fernvale, My Family Clinic (Hougang Central), My Family Clinic (RV), My Family Clinic (TH) and Pacific Family Clinic.
They had been accused of committing the offences under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act between 2011 and 2019.
Dr Queck Kian Kheng is named in the charges.
An online search for registered healthcare professionals in Singapore revealed that he graduated from a Malaysian university and specialises in neurology.
The search also showed that he has a practice at the KK Queck Neurology Centre at Mount Alvernia Hospital's Medical Centre A in Thomson Road.
In its statement, MOM said that Dr Queck had earlier been convicted of three charges of working without a valid work pass and was fined $70,000 on June 24 last year.
Another five similar charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.
MOM told ST: "Since criminal proceedings against Dr Queck have concluded, no further action will be taken against him in respect of these offences."
Mount Alvernia Hospital had earlier told ST that Dr Queck obtained his Singapore Medical Council (SMC) Certificate of Specialist Registration in Neurology in 2016.
It added: "Dr Queck... who practices out of Mount Alvernia Hospital's (MAH) Medical Centre A (MCA) since November 2019, was already a permanent resident of Singapore in August 2019.
"As an SMC registered specialist in neurology, both his clinics at MAH's MCA... were duly licensed by the Ministry of Health."
For each charge under the Act, an offender can be fined up to $20,000.