2 China workers protesting on crane charged in court

Fann Sim
Both Chinese workers have been arrested for "unlawfully remaining at the place and intentionally causing alarm". (AFP Photo)

[UPDATE on 7 Dec: Local media reported that the two crane operators from mainland China were charged in court on Friday afternoon with criminal trespass.

Court documents stated that the two remained on the cranes with the intent to cause alarm to their project manager Pan Genxi.

Having claimed trial on their charges, Zhu and Wu were offered bail for $10,000, and will re-appear in court next Wednesday.

If found guilty, the two could be jailed for up to three months, fined up to $1,500, or both.]

Two crane operators from mainland China who staged a protest at a construction site on Thursday were arrested for unlawfully remaining at the place and intentionally causing alarm.

Zhu Gui Lei, 24, and Wu Xiao Lin, 47, stood on separate cranes to demand back wages before their return to China, AFP reported. Both worked at Zhong Jiang (Singapore) International Pte Ltd.

The police said in a statement that it received a call at about 6.30am requesting for assistance at a construction site near 31 Jurong Port Road.

Upon arrival, two men were seen sitting on top of two construction cranes, which were about 10 storeys high. It was subsequently established that they had an ongoing pay dispute with their employer, the police said.

The Police Crisis Negotiation Unit was activated to get the two men to come down to safety.

After more than four hours of negotiation, Zhu came down from the crane at 2.20pm. This was followed by Wu, at 3:30pm.

Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in a separate statement that the two workers had previously approached MOM for help. Zhu first approached MOM in July last year to enquire how he and his friend could resign and return home. Zhu was then working for a different company.

On 5 Dec, Zhu approached MOM's customer relations officer at the MOM Services Centre together with Wu as they had tendered their resignations and planned to go home.

"They claimed they had outstanding salaries owed to them, howeever, the workers did not have the necessary documents to suport these claims," MOM said.

MOM officers asked them to return with the documents so that MOM could investigate and both workers agreed to do so.

MOM added that it will not hesitate to take action against employers who fail to pay their workers on time.

This is the second labour protest in a week in Singapore after over 170 bus drivers from SMRT went on strike.