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Jail for man who allowed overstayers to live in Jurong West residence

SINGAPORE: A man who allowed two women to live in a Jurong West residential unit despite them overstaying in Singapore was sentenced to seven months' jail on Wednesday (Nov 24) for harbouring an immigration offender.

Feng Xiaoming, 34, was not the owner of the residence, but he was the "caretaker" and had allowed the women to live there, said the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) in a press release.

The women, identified as Dong Yang and Xie Xiying, had overstayed in Singapore for about one to two months.

During a police and ICA operation in August 2019, both women, who are from China, were also found to have engaged in vice activities in the residence, said ICA.

Investigations into the two women have since concluded, and both received stern warnings for their overstaying offences, said the authority.

ICA said it arrested Feng, a Chinese national and former work pass holder, in June 2020.

Describing Feng as its "caretaker", the authority said he repaired faults in the residence and provided Internet access to its occupants.

"Feng was aware that the women staying at the unit had been engaging in vice activities and had helped them avoid detection by the authorities by acting as a look-out", said ICA.

"As Feng did not exercise due diligence in ascertaining that Dong's immigration pass was valid at the point when he allowed her to stay at the unit, he had committed an offence of harbouring an immigration offender under the Immigration Act."

ICA reiterated that those renting out their premises must exercise due diligence and check the status of prospective foreign tenants to ensure it is legal.

They must conduct three mandatory checks: The tenant's original immigration or work pass, cross-checking the particulars on the pass against the particulars on the tenant's passport, and verifying the validity of the pass with the relevant authority. 

Anyone convicted of harbouring overstayers or illegal immigrants recklessly (by carrying out only one of the three checks) or knowingly can be jailed for six months to two years, and fined up to S$6,000.

If found guilty of harbouring overstayers or illegal immigrants negligently (by carrying out only two of the three checks), they can be jailed up to 12 months, fined up to S$6,000 or both.

Source: CNA/dv(gs)


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