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One PRC National Sentenced To Seven Months‘ Imprisonment For Harbouring An Immigration Offender

            A 34-year-old male PRC national and former work pass holder, Feng Xiaoming, was sentenced to seven months’ imprisonment on 24 November 2021 for harbouring an immigration offender. 

2.          During a joint operation by the Police and the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) on 20 August 2019 at a residential unit in Jurong West, two female PRC nationals were found to have overstayed in Singapore for about one to two months. Both were also found to have been engaging in vice activities in the said unit. Investigations into the women, Dong Yang and Xie Xiying, have concluded and they have since been administered with stern warnings for their overstaying offences. 

3.          The ICA conducted further checks on the relevant persons involved with the unit and arrested Feng on 16 June 2020. Investigations revealed that while Feng was not the owner of the unit, he was the caretaker and had allowed the women to reside in the unit. He would conduct repairs on faults in the said unit and provided internet access to the occupants. Feng was aware that the women staying at the unit had been engaging in vice activities and had helped them avoid detection by the authorities by acting as a look-out.

4.            As Feng did not exercise due diligence in ascertaining that Dong’s immigration pass was valid at the point when he allowed her to stay at the unit, he had committed an offence of harbouring an immigration offender under the Immigration Act1.

5.          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: 

(a)         Check the tenant’s original immigration/work pass;

(b)         Cross check the particulars on his/her pass against the particulars on his/her 
             original passport; and

(c)         Verify the validity of his/her pass by checking with the issuing authority (i.e. the 
             Ministry of Manpower for work passes and the ICA for immigration passes).

6.          Prospective homeowners or landlords may wish to watch this video produced by ICA before renting their premises to foreign tenants.

7.          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 presumptive minimum term of 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.

24 NOVEMBER 2021

[1] Feng’s charge for harbouring the other immigration offender, Xie Xiying, was withdrawn by ICA and he was handed a discharge amounting to an acquittal.