Recently, 55 year-old Singaporean Ng Boon Cheng, managing director of Lian Lee Wooden Case Maker Co, had been charged by Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in the State Courts, with 20 counts of collecting kickbacks.

Ng has now been fined S$60,000 after pleading guilty to receiving kickbacks from his foreign workers in exchange to continue their employment with his company.

The MOM press release yesterday stated that Ng faces 18 weeks in jail if he cannot pay the fine. Additionally, he is also banned from employing foreign workers.

Ng had conducted interviews to decide whether to renew their work permits. The foreign workers were informed that they had to pay renewal fees in order to continue their employment with the company, and the fees would be deducted from their monthly salaries.

Additionally, the foreign workers were also informed that if they did not agree to the deduction of their renewal fees from their monthly salary, their work permits would not be renewed. Hence, the foreign workers agreed to the above arrangement.

With sums ranging from $575 to $9,000 deducted from their salaries, a total of 20 foreign workers were involved. These were deducted from the foreign workers' salaries between November 2012 and October 2015, with the total amount of kickbacks collected by Ng being more than S$93,000 according to the authorities.

"The monies collected as kickbacks have been returned to the workers," MOM added.

Commenting on the case, Kevin Teoh, divisional director at MOM's Foreign Manpower Management Division shared, "the collection of kickbacks is a criminal activity and strong enforcement action will be taken. Such illegal practices must be stopped as they undermine the financial well-being of the foreign workers who have no choice but to agree to such arrangements".

Additionally, the ministry urged foreign workers to seek help from the MOM if they've been pressured to pay their employers as a condition to keep their jobs here.

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