A 35-year-old Singaporean woman of Vietnamese descent, Nguyen Thi Hong Lan, was convicted and sentenced to nine months and eight weeks’ imprisonment and a fine of S$10,000 in default eight weeks’ imprisonment for offences under the Immigration Act.
2 Nguyen, who was arrested on 15 August 2017, was convicted for arranging a marriage of convenience (MOC) between a Singaporean man and a Vietnamese woman as well as abetting the Singaporean man to make false statements to obtain Visit Passes for his “foreign spouse”. Nguyen subsequently filed a Notice of Appeal against the conviction on 29 November 2018. The appeal was heard and dismissed on 24 April 2019 at the High Court and Nguyen began serving her sentence on 8 May 2019.
3 Investigations revealed that Nguyen was approached by a 34-year-old Vietnamese woman, Duong Thi Anh Kieu who wanted to remain in Singapore to work. Nguyen suggested to Duong to enter into a MOC and told her to pay S$20,000 for the sham marriage arrangements. Nguyen then suggested to Soh Sheng Chao, a 29-year-old Singaporean man, to enter into the MOC in which Soh would not have to fulfil any marital obligations but would need to sponsor Duong’s Visit Pass and Permanent Residency applications. In return, Soh would be paid a sum of S$6,000 and S$300 for every successful Visit Pass extension. An additional sum of S$3,000 was promised should the Vietnamese successfully obtain Permanent Residency.
4 Nguyen arranged for Soh and Duong to solemnise their “marriage” on 9 February 2017. Duong paid Nguyen S$10,000 and Nguyen in turn paid Soh the promised sum of S$6,000. Duong did not live with Soh but stayed and worked in a spa operated by Nguyen to pay off the remaining S$10,000 for the sham marriage arrangements. Nguyen also abetted Soh to make false statements in the Visit Pass applications for Duong. Soh and Duong were later arrested by officers from the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) on 15 August 2017 and 19 August 2017 respectively. Duong and Soh were each sentenced to six months and four weeks’ imprisonment on 4 October 2017 and 31 January 2018 respectively for the offences of entering into a MOC and making false statements in the Visit Pass applications.
5 ICA takes a serious view of individuals trying to circumvent our system by engaging in or arranging/assisting to arrange marriages of convenience to obtain immigration facilities in Singapore. The penalties for the offence are a fine not exceeding S$10,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years, or both.
6 ICA will continue to take firm enforcement action against errant couples and middlemen. We will spare no effort in investigating such cases, and will pursue every available lead. We welcome members of the public to report any suspected case of marriage of convenience to ICA at 1800-391 6150. Any information provided will be treated in strictest confidence.
IMMIGRATION & CHECKPOINTS AUTHORITY
10 JUNE 2019
Nguyen Thi Hong Lan was sentenced to a total of nine months’ and eight weeks’ imprisonment, and a fine of S$10,000 in default eight weeks’ imprisonment (Photo: ICA)