SINGAPORE: A 42-year-old man who arranged for two pairs of Singaporean men and Vietnamese women to have sham marriages has been sentenced to 18 months in jail and fined S$13,000, said the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) on Tuesday (Jan 22).
Tan Chuen Zin, a Singaporean, was arrested in March 2017 and convicted for arranging the bogus marriages as well harbouring the Vietnamese women despite knowing they had contravened the Immigration Act.
He will have to serve an additional three months' jail if he does not pay the fine.
A sham marriage, or marriage of convenience, is a ruse to help foreigners enter Singapore or extend their stay here. The act was criminalised in 2012.
In the first case, 52-year-old David Sim had approached Tan in May 2016 for job recommendations.
Sim, who was in financial difficulties, agreed to enter a sham marriage after Tan suggested the idea to him.
Sim would not have to fulfil any marital obligations, but would have to sponsor the visit pass applications for a Vietnamese national.
In return, Sim would be paid S$4,000, as well as S$300 for every successful visit pass extension.
Two months later in July, 24-year-old Tran Thuy Bich Tran asked Tan for advice as her work permit was about to expire and she wanted to remain in Singapore.
Tan suggested she enter into a sham marriage and arranged for her and Sim to meet. The pair solemnised their marriage at a restaurant in November that year.
Tran paid Tan S$9,000 for arranging the marriage, and also agreed to pay S$300 for every successful visit pass extension.
Tran did not live with Sim after their marriage. She stayed in Tan’s apartment instead, and paid him a monthly rental of S$530.
Tran and Sim were arrested by ICA officers on Feb 20, 2017 and sentenced to six months' jail each for the sham marriage and making false statements in the visit pass applications.
In May 2016, Tan also suggested that another Singaporean man, 27-year-old man Tan Jian You, consider having a bogus marriage to alleviate his financial difficulties.
The younger Tan agreed to do so for S$1,500.
Similar to the previous case, he was told that he would not have to fulfill any marital obligations but would have to sponsor 23-year-old Vo Thi Diem Kieu's visit pass applications to remain in Singapore.
In November 2016, the pair had their marriage solemnised at a restaurant. Vo paid the older Tan S$9,000 after the solemnisation.
Vo also lived with the older Tan, and paid him S$530 every month for rent.
Vo and the younger Tan were arrested on Feb 20, 2017 and sentenced to six months' jail each.
"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," it said.
Those convicted may be dine up to S$10,000 or jailed a maximum of 10 years, or both, it added.