SINGAPORE: A 35-year-old woman who helped to arrange a sham marriage has been sentenced to nine months and eight weeks' jail and a fine of S$10,000 in default of eight weeks' imprisonment.
Nguyen Thi Hong Lan, a Singaporean of Vietnamese descent, was arrested in August 2017.
She had arranged for a Singaporean man and a Vietnamese woman to solemnise their "marriage" on Feb 9, 2017, said the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said in a news release on Monday (Jun 10).
Investigations showed that Nguyen was approached by the Vietnamese woman, 34-year-old Duong Thi Anh Kieu, who wanted to remain in Singapore to work.
Nguyen then suggested that Duong enter a marriage of convenience and told her to pay S$20,000 for the arrangements.
She also told the Singaporean man, 29-year-old Soh Sheng Chao, to sponsor Duong's Visit Pass and permanent residency applications - without having to fulfil any marital obligations.
Soh was promised S$6,000, plus S$300 for every successful extension of Duong's Visit Pass, said ICA.
After the pair went through with the sham marriage, Duong did not live with Soh. She paid Nguyen S$10,000 and worked at a spa operated by the latter to pay off the remaining S$10,000.
For entering into a marriage of convenience and making false statements in Visit Pass applications, Duong and Soh were earlier sentenced to six months and four weeks’ 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," the authority said.
"ICA will continue to take firm enforcement action against errant couples and middlemen."
Those convicted of engaging in such marriages of convenience or helping to make these arrangements face a maximum jail term of 10 years and a fine of up to S$10,000.