Man gets 8 months' jail for harbouring immigration offenders

Mondol Faruk, a former work permit holder, was jailed eight months for harbouring two Sri Lankan immigration offenders. PHOTO: ICA

SINGAPORE - A 40-year-old Bangladeshi man was jailed eight months last Friday (May 17) for harbouring two Sri Lankan immigration offenders.

Mondol Faruk, a former work permit holder, faced one count of harbouring a male Sri Lankan immigration offender.

A second charge of harbouring another Sri Lankan man illegally was taken into consideration during sentencing.

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA), in a statement on Tuesday, said Faruk, who was an occupant of a unit in Cuff Road, was tasked by the main tenants to take care of the unit and collect rental from the other occupants.

He was, however, not authorised to allow anyone else to stay in the unit.

Despite this, Faruk sublet the unit to two 22-year-old Sri Lankan men, Savarimuthu Kanistan and Agalepola Shaween Ashinshana.

Both Sri Lankan nationals did not offer to show any identification documents to Faruk.

He also did not ask them for any documents to verify if their stay in Singapore was valid.

On March 13, ICA officers conducted a check on the unit and arrested Kanistan and Ashinshana.

Kanistan had remained unlawfully in Singapore for 33 days after his visit pass had expired, while Ashinshana was in Singapore unlawfully for six days.

ICA said Faruk had not exercised due diligence by carrying out at least two out of three checks required under the law, before allowing the two Sri Lankans to stay in the rented unit.

Kanistan and Ashinshana were both sentenced on March 14 for their overstaying offences.

Kanistan was jailed for three weeks for not being able to pay a fine of $2,500, while Ashinshana was jailed for two days as he could not pay his $500 fine.

ICA said the main tenants were given verbal advisories, as the authority found that the unit was sublet by Faruk without their knowledge.

In its statement, ICA 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 added.

The three mandatory checks are:

- Check the tenant's original immigration or work pass;

- Cross check the particulars on his or her pass against the particulars on his or her original passport; and

- Verify the validity of his or her pass by checking with the issuing authority, such as the Manpower Ministry or ICA.

Anyone found guilty of recklessly or knowingly harbouring overstayers and/or illegal immigrants may face up to two years' jail and be fined up to $6,000.

Those convicted of negligently harbouring overstayers and/or illegal immigrants may be jailed up to 12 months, fined up to $6,000, or both.

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