SINGAPORE: A 33-year-old company director became the first person to be sentenced to caning for offences committed under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA), the Ministry of Manpower said on Friday (Nov 3).
Goh Eng Kiat, the director of Jasper Contractors, was sentenced in the State Courts on Friday to 45 months’ imprisonment and five strokes of the cane for fraudulently obtaining work passes for 30 foreign workers for a company that did not require their employment.
Goh, a Singaporean, was also ordered to pay S$75,000 for the proceeds of crime.
As he was unable to pay the penalty, he will serve the in-default sentence of five months’ imprisonment, taking his total jail time to 50 months.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has also permanently barred him from employing foreign workers.
Commenting on the case, Mr Kandhavel Periyasamy, Director of Employment Inspectorate at MOM’s Foreign Manpower Management Division, said: “This is the first illegal labour importation case that the court has imposed a caning sentence. 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.”
Goh was charged with 117 counts of illegally importing labour between November 2013 and March 2014. Thirty charges were proceeded with, while the remaining 87 charges were taken into consideration for the purpose of sentencing. Another charge under the Bankruptcy Act was also proceeded against Goh.
Goh had falsely declared to MOM that foreign workers would be employed by his company as construction workers, when he had no intention to do so, the press release said.
Based on the false information, Goh managed to fraudulently obtained work passes for the 117 foreign workers, who were subsequently released to find their own employment.
In total, he received S$292,500 from the foreign workers, by far the largest amount received by an offender involving illegal importation of labour.
In the last two years, thirteen individuals have been convicted for the illegal importation of labour.