On 17 May 2019, 40-year-old Bangladeshi national and former work permit holder Mondol Faruk was sentenced to eight months' imprisonment for harbouring one male Sri Lankan immigration offender. A second charge of harbouring another male Sri Lankan immigration offender was taken into consideration for sentencing.
2 Investigations revealed that Faruk was an occupant of a unit at Cuff Road. He had been tasked by the main tenants to take care of the unit and collect rental from the other occupants on the tenant's behalf. He was however not authorised to allow anyone else to stay in the unit. Despite this, Faruk had sublet the unit to two 22-year-old Sri Lankan men, Savarimuthu Kanistan and Agalepola Shaween Ashinshana. Both Sri Lankan nationals did not offer to show any identification documents to Faruk nor did Faruk ask them for any documents to verify if their stay in Singapore was valid.
3 On 13 March 2019, ICA officers conducted a check at the unit and arrested Kanistan and Ashinshana, who had remained unlawfully in Singapore for a period of 33 days and six days, respectively, after the expiry of their visit passes. As Faruk did not exercise due diligence by carrying out at least two out of three checks required under the law before allowing the two Sri Lankans to stay at the unit he had rented, he had committed an offence of harbouring immigration offenders with reckless disregard under the Immigration Act. Kanistan and Ashinshana have since been dealt with for their overstaying offences. Kanistan was sentenced to a fine of $2,500 in default 3 weeks' imprisonment, while Ashinshana was sentenced to a fine of $500 in default 2 days' imprisonment on 14 March 2019. The main tenants were administered with verbal advisories as it was established that the unit was sublet by Faruk without their knowledge.
4 The ICA takes a firm stance against any person who harbours immigration offenders. Those who wish to rent their premises must exercise due diligence in checking the status of their prospective foreign tenants to ensure that their status in Singapore is legal. They are required to conduct the three mandatory checks:
- Check the tenant's original immigration/work pass;
- Cross check the particulars on his/her pass against the particulars on his/her original passport; and
- Verify the validity of his/her pass by checking with the issuing authority (i.e. MOM for work passes and ICA for other immigration passes such as Student’s Pass and Long Term Visit Pass).
5 If any person is found guilty of recklessly (i.e. carrying out only one of the three due diligence checks) or knowingly harbouring overstayers and/or illegal immigrants, he may be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not less than six months and not more than two years and a fine not exceeding S$6,000. If any person is found guilty of negligently (i.e. carrying out only two of the three due diligence checks) harbouring overstayers and/or illegal immigrants, he may be sentenced to a fine not exceeding S$6,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both.
IMMIGRATION & CHECKPOINTS AUTHORITY
21 MAY 2019
40-year-old Faruk was sentenced to eight months' imprisonment for harbouring immigration offenders (Photo: ICA)