Singaporean jailed for harbouring Chinese overstayers who engaged in vice activities

SINGAPORE - A Singaporean man who rented a housing unit and then sublet it to two Chinese nationals who engaged in vice activities at the unit has been sentenced to seven months' jail over an immigration offence.

Xu Yixuan, 26, was given the sentence for harbouring one of the women, with the second charge of harbouring the other woman taken into consideration during sentencing. Both women were overstayers.

The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said on Thursday (Aug 12) that it had checked the Tampines residential unit during a joint operation with the police on Nov 4, 2019.

They learnt that both Chinese nationals had overstayed in Singapore.

Investigations showed that Xu had signed the tenancy agreement of the residential unit in October 2019.

He then sublet the unit to Huang Huoying and He Lei on Oct 27 that year, charging Huang $110 and He $120 per day in rent.

He continued to live at his own residence in Woodlands.

ICA said: "As Xu did not exercise due diligence in ascertaining that the PRC nationals' immigration passes were valid at the point when he sublet the unit to them, he had committed an offence of harbouring immigration offenders under the Immigration Act."

It added that Huang and He were issued warnings for overstaying.

In its statement, ICA said landlords must conduct three mandatory checks when renting their properties:

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

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

- Verify the validity of his/her pass by checking with the issuing authority (that is, the Ministry of Manpower for work passes and ICA for other immigration passes such as student's pass and long-term visit pass).

Those guilty of recklessly (carrying out only one of the three due diligence checks) or knowingly harbouring overstayers and/or illegal immigrants, may be jailed for at least six months and up to two years, and fined up to $6,000.

If found guilty of negligently (carrying out only two of the three due diligence checks) harbouring overstayers and/or illegal immigrants, an individual may be fined up to $6,000, jailed up to 12 months, or both.