SINGAPORE: Former tour guide Yang Yin has been sentenced to 26 months’ jail for duping the authorities into granting him PR status by setting up a shell company, falsifying hundreds of receipts and paying small sums in tax – all to shore up his PR application.
In sentencing Yang, Deputy Presiding Judge Jennifer Marie said “a strong signal” needs to be sent to deter would-be offenders and to demonstrate that “foreigners who gain entry to or remain under false pretences in Singapore should not be expected to get off with a slap on their wrists”.
Prosecutors had sought a two-and-a-half to three-year jail term for Yang, while his lawyer pressed for one to two years’ jail.
Judge Marie added Yang’s offences, which spanned five years before the law caught up with him, were “without a doubt premeditated and carefully planned”. He had abused financial services here, “to Singapore’s detriment”, and had gone to great lengths to conceal his wrongdoing.
He had fooled five Government agencies and several businesses and individuals – including corporate service provider Rikvin and an accountant – to obtain his PR status.
Yang’s lawyer Irving Choh argued on Wednesday that Yang’s family would suffer undue hardship if he was put away for a long time. However, the judge gave “little weight” to this. “In the present case, the hardship that will befall (his) family … is really a natural result of (Yang) committing an offence”, she said on Thursday.
Yang was convicted in May of 120 of 347 charges, including 110 counts for falsifying receipts involving S$186,900 showing payments to a shell company he set up to gain permanent residency here, as well as four charges under the Companies Act and six for cheating and immigration offences.
Another 227 charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.
Yang faces another two charges for criminal breach of trust, for misappropriating S$1.1 million from wealthy widow Chung Khin Chun, 89. For this set of offences, prosecutors have pressed for a 10 to 12-year jail term. Yang will be sentenced separately on Friday morning.