Two men in employment scam face 442 charges

Sham firms used to collect fees from over 300 foreign jobseekers for jobs that did not exist

Two Singaporean men were charged by the Commercial Affairs Division and Ministry of Manpower (MOM) yesterday over the running of sham employment businesses that fraudulently collected fees from foreign jobseekers.

Terry Tan-Soo I-Hse, 39, and Clarence Lim Jun Yao, 30, face a total of 442 charges for using three sham companies to collect fees from more than 300 foreign jobseekers for jobs that did not exist.

Tan-Soo was the director of employment agency Asia Recruit, now known as Alliance Recruit, while Lim was the director of Asiajobmart and UUBR International, now known as Connectsia.

Said the police and MOM in a release: "Investigations revealed that Tan-Soo and Lim submitted a total of 449 work pass applications to MOM, of which 445 applications were rejected."

The MOM has banned Lim, Asiajobmart and UUBR from hiring any new foreign workers and renewing any work passes. Asia Recruit's licence has also been suspended.

Both men face charges under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act as well as charges for fraudulent trading under the Companies Act, while Tan-Soo faces additional charges under the Employment Agencies Act.

If convicted under the Companies Act, they may be sentenced to up to seven years' jail, a fine of up to $15,000, or both, per charge.

If convicted of false declaration offences, the duo also face imprisonment of up to two years, a fine of up to $20,000, or both, per charge.

If convicted of a breach of licensing conditions, Tan-Soo faces imprisonment of up to six months, a fine of up to $5,000, or both, per charge, and the revokement of his employment agency licence.

The men, who allegedly committed the offences in 2015 and last year, were charged in court yesterday and are out on bail of $110,000 each. Tan-Soo's case will be heard in court again on Nov 24, while Lim's will be heard on Nov 27.

In a similar case last month, the MOM charged Aik Heng Contracts and Services director Poh Kwi Ko with the illegal importation of labour involving 10 foreign workers, and the collection of kickbacks amounting to about $156,000.

• Additional reporting by Shaffiq Alkhatib

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 21, 2017, with the headline 'Two men in employment scam face 442 charges'. Print Edition | Subscribe