Company director to be caned for illegal importation of labour

Goh Eng Kiat fraudulently obtained employment passes for foreign workers in Singapore.

A Singaporean company director has become the first person to be sentenced with caning for Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA) offenses.

Goh Eng Kiat, a 33-year old Singaporean and Director of Jasper Contractors, was convicted for fraudulently acquiring work passes for 30 foreign workers.

Goh had falsely declared to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) that these workers would join his company as construction workers. They were subsequently released to find their own employment.

It is an offense under the EFMA to obtain work passes for foreign employees to work at companies that do not exist, or to otherwise fail to provide them with work.  

In all, Goh was charged with 117 counts under the EFMA, having fraudulently obtained work passes for 117 foreign workers between November 2013 and March 2014.

Only 30 charges proceeded against him, although the remaining charges were taken into account during sentencing.

Goh was sentenced to five strokes of the cane, and 45 months in prison, for his offenses. He will also serve an additional five months imprisonment, as he was unable to pay the $75,000 penalty for the proceeds of his crime.

Goh is also permanently banned from employing foreign workers.

The Ministry of Manpower noted in a statement that Goh had received $292,500 from the foreign workers he fraudulently imported – the largest amount received by an offender who has committed illegal labour importation offenses.

“This is the first illegal labour importation case that the court has imposed a caning sentence,” said Mr Kandhavel Periyasamy, Director of Employment Inspectorate at MOM’s Foreign Manpower Management Division, in the statement.

“We want to remind individuals that illegal labour importation is a serious offence, and we will take strong enforcement action against individuals who commit this offence,” he added.

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