Singapore

MOM busts illegal worker syndicate

A syndicate which brought in foreign workers for illegal employment has been smashed, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said yesterday.

It had mounted an islandwide two-day enforcement operation against the syndicate last week.

Following raids at several locations, including offices, residential units and construction sites, 44 people were arrested, six of them alleged members of the syndicate and the remaining 38 foreign workers.

Items such as work permit cards, name lists of workers, and SingPass tokens were seized, MOM added.

Elaborating on how such syndicates operate, the ministry said they typically set up shell companies and hire "fall guys" with no knowledge of what the company does as directors.

Their SingPass accounts are subsequently used to make fraudulent work pass applications, while the syndicates collect large amounts of kickbacks from the foreign workers.

As there is no actual work, the foreign workers are released to find their own employment, with many conspiring with the syndicates and paying the kickbacks to get a work pass to stay in Singapore.

Mr Kevin Teoh, divisional director of MOM's Foreign Manpower Management Division, said: "MOM takes a serious view of bringing in foreign workers without a job and allowing these foreign workers to find their own employment.

"We will take offenders to task, and will continue our efforts to detect and take down syndicates that perpetuate such offences."

MOM said it conducted four major operations last year against such syndicates. They had set up four companies and brought in about 300 workers. A total of 12 syndicate members were arrested.

SingaporecrimeMinistry of Manpower