Singaporean lets 2 Vietnamese overstay in flat
416 people held last year for harbouring immigration offenders
She was in Singapore on a 30-day visit pass that had expired in May 2013.
But Pham Thi Ut Lanh, 27, overstayed for more than two years before she was finally caught in her Singaporean boyfriend's home.
They had met in 2013 and he agreed when she asked if she could move into his Tampines flat.
Last May, Liu Weibin, 33, found out that Lanh was staying here illegally, but he still allowed her to continue living in his flat.
Around the same time, another Vietnamese woman, Le Thi Anh Tuyet, 34, also stayed in his flat.
She had been living in Singapore illegally for more than three years.
In 2012, Tuyet was arrested by police officers at Tanjong Katong Road for soliciting but was not charged in court.
Last September, the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers arrested the two Vietnamese women in Liu's flat. He was sentenced to nine months' jail on Wednesday.
Tuyet was sentenced to four months' jail. She was also fined $2,000, or one month's jail in default.
Lanh was sentenced to three months' jail. She was also fined $1,500, or three weeks' jail if in default.
Liu was one of the 416 people held for harbouring immigration offenders (IO) last year.
Almost half of the harbourers arrested last year were Singaporeans.
The increase in the number of harbourers and errant employers arrested was attributed to ICA's focused and coordinated enforcement efforts.
These efforts were conducted in close collaboration with other enforcement agencies such as the police and the Ministry of Manpower, said an ICA spokesman.
Mr Clarence Yeo, Commissioner of ICA, said: "In this current security climate, ICA has stepped up its border control measures and will continue to conduct stringent checks on all travellers, goods and conveyances.
"At the same time, we urge the community, our fellow Singaporeans, to work hand in hand with us to help keep our country safe and secure."
Illegal workers 'have debts to pay': Activist
Social activist Jolovan Wham noted the overstayers he is aware of got their work permits cancelled prematurely or revoked.
"We see about 10 such workers a year on average. They are usually afraid to even approach the NGOs (non-governmental organisations), but when they do, it is always over pay disputes.
"No one wants to be an illegal worker. But they choose to continue working here because they have debts to pay and obligations to fulfil," said the executive director of the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home).
Mr Wham said these workers can get paid almost double because the employers do not have to pay the levy for foreign workers.
Mr Jolovan Wham.
"But the employers can get away with not paying them anything either," he added.
Last year, 91 errant employers were arrested for hiring immigration offenders.
The employers came from various industries such as construction, food and beverage and cleaning services.
An ICA spokesman said: "Everyone has a role to play in ensuring the safety and security of Singapore. Homeowners and employers should not offer shelter or employment to (immigration offenders).
"Without the prospect of illegal employment or shelter, (immigration offenders) would not find Singapore attractive."
By the numbers
The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority released the annual statistics report on the immigration offender situation and contraband cases detected last year on Friday.
Total immigration offenders arrested
Down about 7 per cent
Down about 11 per cent
Down about 6 per cent
Up about 66 per cent
Up about 32 per cent
Up about 2 per cent
Marriage of convenience
Down about 62 per cent