Construction firm director charged over collection of $3,650 in kickbacks from foreign workers

Yuan Shungao faces 21 charges for collecting kickbacks from six foreign workers in his company.
Yuan Shungao faces 21 charges for collecting kickbacks from six foreign workers in his company. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The director of construction firm Yuan Chun Contractor was charged last Thursday (Aug 17) over the collection of kickbacks from six of his foreign workers.

Yuan Shungao, 46, faces 21 charges for the alleged kickbacks which amount to $3,650, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in a statement on Monday.

His case will be next heard in court on Sept 8.

According to MOM, Yuan allegedly collected the kickbacks - an offence under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA) - as a condition for the workers' continued employment with his company.

Investigations revealed that Yuan, a Singapore permanent resident, received a monthly sum of $200 each from two of the workers between March and July last year.

He also deducted a monthly sum of $150 from each of the other four between April and July the same year, as financial guarantee for their employment.

If they did not pay up, their work passes would not be renewed.

All the monies collected from the six have since been returned to them following MOM's intervention.

If convicted, Yuan could be fined up to $30,000 and/or jailed for up to two years, for each offence. 

MOM will also ban both Yuan and his company from employing foreign workers. 

In its statement, MOM said it takes a "tough stance" against employers who collect kickbacks, citing a case in December 2016 when a 53-year-old Singaporean was jailed for 24 weeks for collecting $46,000 in kickbacks from 37 foreign workers.

Workers pressured into giving kickbacks can seek help immediately by calling MOM on 6438 5122 or the Migrant Workers' Centre on 6536 2692.

Members of the public who know of employers who contravene the EFMA should report the matter to MOM at the same number or e-mail mom_fmmd@mom.gov.sg.