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Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has smashed a syndicate involved in the illegal importation of labour in the country.
According to a press release, MOM mounted an island-wide enforcement operation from 1 to 2 July 2015 against this syndicate, which was also suspected to involve bringing in foreign workers for illegal employment.
The operation saw the arrest of 41 persons, which included the alleged mastermind and members of the syndicates.
“The syndicate would set up shell companies to bring in the foreign workers,” the press release stated.
“Enormous profits would be derived from collecting large amount of kickbacks. As there is no actual employment, the upkeep and maintenance are left to these workers who have unwittingly become victims of the scam.”
The report added that for being the mastermind of a syndicate that imports foreign workers for illegal employment, the offender may be fined up to $6,000 and/or face an imprisonment of six months to two years per worker.
If convicted of at least six similar offences at the same trial, the offender is also liable to caning. The runners who abet the offence will face similar punishment.
“This operation to weed out syndicates involved in the illegal importation of labour is part of MOM’s overall enforcement strategy,” Kevin Teoh, divisional director of MOM’s Foreign Manpower Management Division, said.
“This is to ensure a level playing field in the employment landscape such that law abiding employers are not disadvantaged. We will continue to use the full force of the law to take perpetrators who deliberately circumvent our work pass framework to task.”
Teoh urged employers to partner with the Ministry in its efforts to clamp down on illegal employment by reporting such activity to MOM and/or by employing workers through the proper means.