Per a statement by Singapore's Ministry of Manpower (MOM), a 33-year-old local, Zheng Hongteng, is facing 139 charges of obtaining passes for 139 foreign workers through four separate sole proprietorships in the construction industry, but failing to employ them.

This is in breach of the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA).

These sole proprietorships were registered by four other individuals, who were paid a monthly sum for facilitating the work pass applications, according to MOM. The workers involved were told before entering Singapore that they would have to source for their own employment.

Zheng faces another five charges of failing to pay the salaries of his employees, hired by a separate firm, thus violating the conditions of the work pass.

The case against Zheng will be heard next on 12 March 2020. All the offences were carried out between April 2013 and November 2015.

As a reminder, under the EFMA, it is an offence to obtain a work pass for a foreign worker for a trade or business that does not exist, is not in operation or does not require the employment of the foreign worker. The offence is punishable with imprisonment ranging between six months and two years, and may also be liable to a fine not exceeding S$6,000. Anyone convicted of at least six of such offences in the same trial is also liable to be caned.

Photo / StockUnlimited