Managing director charged with abetment of housing offences

Managing director charged with abetment of housing offences

SINGAPORE: A 53-year-old woman was charged on Monday (Apr 3) for abetting in housing foreign workers in overcrowded private residential premises.  

Zhou Fengxing, the managing director of Sino Star, faces 21 charges under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA), said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) in a joint media release. 

Sino Star, which is in the business of arranging accommodation for foreign workers and students, also faces the same number of charges under EFMA. 

An MOM investigation revealed that from March to July 2015 Zhou gave consent for her company to sublet one unit to an employer to house a total of 21 foreign workers.  

This exceeded URA's prevailing occupancy cap of eight people at the time of investigation. 

The unit, which had illegal partitions, was also overcrowded, resulting in extremely unsanitary conditions which compromised the well-being of workers, according to the press release.

The employer was subsequently ordered to relocate all affected workers, who moved out to a purpose-built dormitory within two weeks from when the directive was issued. 

If found guilty, Zhou could be fined up to S$10,000 and/or jailed up to 12 months for each charge. 

Both Zhou and Sino Star have also been charged by URA for changing the use of three private residential units to workers' dormitories without planning permission, as well as for abetment. 

They also face three charges each of unauthorised change of use of private residential units under the Planning Act and two charges of abetting the unauthorised change of use of private residential units. 

If found guilty, both Zhou and Sino Star could be fined up to S$200,000 per charge. 

Source: CNA/ad