Six months’ jail, fine for 2 Chinese nationals who overstayed in S’pore for over a decade

SINGAPORE – Despite getting their employment passes revoked, two Chinese nationals continued staying in Singapore illegally.

On Wednesday, Wei JianQin, 56, and Chen Mei, 44, pleaded guilty to one charge under the Immigration Act each, and were given the maximum jail sentence of six months and a fine of $2,000.

Both women were arrested on Jan 9 by Immigration and Checkpoints Authority officers in the same HDB unit in Bedok North Road after they were not able to produce any evidence to prove that they were staying in the country legally.

The court heard that Wei held an Employment Pass that was valid for one year from April 18, 2007, to work as a waitress. Chen was issued a pass valid for two years from July 17, 2009, to work as a general worker.

The Ministry of Manpower cancelled Wei’s pass on Sept 27, 2007, and Chen’s pass on Aug 5, 2009, and they were required to depart Singapore the day their passes were revoked.

Court documents did not state the reasons for the cancellations.

Wei remained in Singapore illegally for 15 years, three months and 13 days, while Chen did so for 13 years, five months and four days.

Noting that they had overstayed for a very long time, District Judge Lorraine Ho said she took into account the pair’s early guilty pleas and their clean criminal records, when meting out the sentences.

Apart from the maximum jail sentence, they could have been fined up to $6,000 for the Immigration Act offence.

In December, a 58-year-old Chinese national who had lived and worked in Singapore illegally for 15 years, from 2007 to 2022, was sentenced to a year’s jail and fined $3,000 after he pleaded guilty to two charges under the Immigration Act.

He was deported in November 2006 after he was caught entering the country without a valid pass, and banned from entering Singapore without permission from the immigration authorities.

But he returned illegally after he accepted a friend’s offer to get him here on a motorboat for $20,000.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.