Man jailed for harbouring two immigration offenders

He failed to conduct adequate checks before subletting unit to men staying in S'pore unlawfully

A 40-year-old Bangladeshi man was jailed for eight months last Friday 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) said yesterday that 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 rent from the other occupants.

But he was 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 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.

Bangladeshi national and former work permit holder Mondol Faruk was sentenced to eight months' imprisonment last Friday for harbouring two Sri Lankan men illegally.

Kanistan had remained unlawfully in Singapore for 33 days after his visit pass 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 it 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 pass against the particulars on his original passport; and

• Verify the validity of his pass by checking with the issuing authority, such as the Ministry of Manpower 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 for up to 12 months, fined up to $6,000, or both.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 22, 2019, with the headline 'Man jailed for harbouring two immigration offenders'. Print Edition | Subscribe