Ten waitresses without the necessary work permits escaped arrest after a police officer tipped off a nightclub general manager to an impending raid, a court heard yesterday.
Hui Yew Kong, 38, then a sergeant, admitted sending a message informing Club Icon boss Samuel Lim Yong Choon to get his "gals out from the back asap" before they could be arrested for immigration offences on Jan 9, 2014.
He also pleaded guilty to communicating unauthorised information to a nightclub manager on June 3, 2013, as well as three charges of acting as a bookmaker by receiving bets for football fixtures.
Hui was jailed by District Judge Salina Ishak for 19 months and fined $60,000 or three months' jail in default. Eight other charges were considered in sentencing.
In the same court, Lim, 33, was sentenced to four weeks' jail for using a signal to alert his employees at the nightclub in Lee Kai House in Middle Road.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Jeremy Yeo Shenglong said Hui went on to work as a bartender at the Club de Colour nightclub in the same building in January 2014. He left the police force in the middle of 2014.
At about 11pm on Jan 9 that year police conducted checks on the nightclubs and similar businesses at Lee Kai House. Lim, who heard about the raid from a staff member at a discotheque in the building, initiated an SMS exchange with Hui, who sent him text messages to get his "gals out from the back asap'', adding: "Must be fast. Once bus come everyone will be arrested.''
Lim then instructed his bouncer to have Icon's DJ switch on the "No Smoking" sign - a pre-arranged signal to the waitresses who did not have proper work permits to leave the club, to avoid being caught.
Had they been caught, the club could have been penalised with demerit points or fined for regulatory breaches.
In another case - under the Official Secrets Act - the court heard that in 2010, Hui - a regular at the club - came to know its manager Jae Wee Wei-Ta.
On June 7, 2013 Wee asked Hui to help him find out if an employee who had failed to report for work was wanted by the police or in custody. He agreed to help.
Hui, then attached to the Central Police Division lock-up, called Tanglin police station charge room and asked whether Wee's employee was in custody. He was told there was no such person there. Hui then informed Wee via a WhatsApp message about this when he was not authorised to. DPP Yeo said Hui also acted as bookmaker for bets totalling about $20,000 when he was a serving police officer.
Hui's lawyer Lim Soo Peng said his client was "ashamed" of what he had done and apologised to the court. He said Hui had been in financial difficulties, owing money to banks, and credit card and insurance companies, as well as friends and relatives.
Hui, whose only son is with his former wife, is a "broken man today with no money, no family, little prospects'', added Mr Lim.
He could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined for intentionally obstructing the course of justice. The OSA charge is punishable with a $2,000 fine and two years' jail, and for the betting offences, a fine of between $20,000 and $200,000 and up to five years' jail per charge under the Betting Act.