12 clinics charged with abetting foreign doctor to work without valid work pass over almost 8 years
SINGAPORE: Twelve clinics were charged in court on Thursday (Jul 29) with abetting a doctor who was a foreigner to work in their outlets without a valid work pass.
The clinics, located across Singapore, are accused of abetting Dr Queck Kian Kheng, 37, to work without a valid work pass between December 2011 and May 2019.
Court documents listed the 12 clinics as: Pacific Family Clinic, My Family Clinic (TH), My Family Clinic (RV), My Family Clinic (Hougang Central), Prohealth Medical Group @ LRT Fernvale, Silver Cross Healthcare, Ihealth, Healthway Medical Group, Health 2.0, CMI Lifemed, CMI Health Services and Avermed.
The outlets that Dr Queck allegedly worked at when he did not have a valid work pass are located in Jurong West, Hougang, Clementi, Sengkang, Woodlands, Punggol, Bedok and Redhill.
The clinics received between two and eight charges each under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act for engaging Dr Queck to work in their clinics on hundreds of occasions when he did not have a valid work pass.
Dr Queck is listed on Mount Alvernia's website as having his own clinic, KK Queck Neurology Centre.
In a statement on Friday, the hospital said Dr Queck started practicing out of their Medical Centre A since November 2019 and was already a permanent resident in August that same year.
"He obtained his Singapore Medical Council (SMC) Certificate of Specialist Registration in Neurology in the year 2016," the statement said.
"As an SMC registered specialist in neurology, both his clinics at MAH’s MCA (first clinic at #01-06 and current one at #02-03), were duly licensed by the Ministry of Health."
According to the SingHealth website, he graduated from its residency programme in 2016. He is registered as a medical professional (neurology specialty) under the Singapore Medical Council, according to a search on its website.
His profile on online healthcare platform Smarterhealth.sg said he obtained his educational qualifications from Malaysia and the United Kingdom.
Court documents did not indicate Dr Queck's nationality, nor how the alleged offences were discovered.
For the offences under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act, the clinics could be fined up to S$20,000 per charge if found guilty.
DR QUECK'S CASE
In response to queries from CNA, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on Thursday night that it received information on possible contravention of the laws involving Dr Queck in May 2019.
He was prosecuted by MOM and fined S$70,000 on Jun 24 this year for working without a valid work pass, said the MOM spokesperson.
According to court documents from Dr Queck's case in June, MOM investigated his case on May 29, 2019, after receiving information about contravention of laws under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act.
Dr Queck was given an employment pass to be employed by Singapore Health Services as an associate consultant. He began working full-time in the National Neuroscience Institute's Department of Neurology around Aug 1, 2016, court documents stated.
However, Dr Queck "was a self-employed foreigner without a valid work pass" on hundred of occasions. He provided locum services at medical clinics on his rest days or when he was available in order to earn additional income for himself.
The clinics came to know about the locum services offered by Dr Queck through online portals and word-of-mouth recommendations.
"Investigations revealed that the accused did not indicate his nationality or work pass status to the clinics," the court documents said.
The clinics engaged Dr Queck on an ad hoc basis to attend and prescribe medication to patients, and paid him at an hourly rate of between S$80 and S$120 on each occasion.
At all times, Dr Queck did not have a valid work pass to be engaged as a doctor at the medical clinics other than the one he was employed full-time at, according to court documents.
In the proceeded charges, Dr Queck earned S$331,443.40 from his illegal employment at clinics on 511 occasions between Nov 9, 2016 and May 1, 2019.
In the charges taken into consideration for his case, Dr Queck earned S$333,618.70 offering illegal services at clinics on 425 occasions between Dec 7, 2011 and Nov 8, 2016.
In total, he earned more than S$665,000 over almost eight years, according to court documents from his case.
The MOM spokesperson said the ministry would like to remind all work pass holders of the employment regulations.
"They must not take on any jobs or engage in activities to earn additional income in Singapore. Employers need to apply for a work pass for any foreigner they wish to employ," she added.