Man fined $72,000 for hiring 19 illegal workers at pasar malams

28 June 2017

A Singaporean man has been fined $72,000 for hiring 19 foreigners without valid work passes to work at pasar malams, or night markets, last year.

Sao Wei Loon, 40, pleaded guilty in court yesterday. He was convicted of eight charges, with 11 other charges taken into consideration for sentencing purposes. Sao will serve the default sentence of six months' imprisonment in lieu of the fine.

Investigations revealed that Sao hired the 19, who were social visit pass holders, to work illegally as food and beverage stall assistants at three pasar malams located at Geylang Serai, Tampines and Toa Payoh.

The illegal employment period ranged from three days to more than three weeks, and the offence was committed between June 1 and Sept 16, 2016.

Under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act, employers are not allowed to hire any foreigner without first obtaining a valid work pass.

Employers who flout the law can be fined a maximum of $30,000 or up to 12 months' imprisonment, or to both. They will also be banned from employing foreign workers.

Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said it conducts inspections from time to time, and foreigners working in Singapore must hold a valid work pass. Those working in bazaars or pasar malams are not exempted from this requirement.

In the last two years, 109 employers were convicted for illegal employment offences.

MOM's director of employment inspectorate Kandhavel Periyasamy said: "This is a particularly egregious case of illegal employment as Sao had illegally employed large number of foreigners on social visit pass. We will continue to take tough enforcement action against employers who illegally employ foreigners."