Director charged for collecting more than $64,000 in kickbacks from foreign workers

Wan Ting Koh
Reporter
(Photo: Thinkstock)

A director of an engineering company has been charged with taking more than $64,000 in kickbacks from 21 foreign workers as a condition for their employment with the company.

Chen Quan, Director of Hong Lu Engineering and Managing Director of Trusty Aluminium, was also charged for failing to pay 10 workers of more than $32,000 of their salaries.

On Tuesday (31 October), Chen, 35-year-old Singapore Permanent Resident, was slapped with 21 counts of the kickback offences and 45 counts of failing to pay salaries. Collecting kickbacks is an offence under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act while failing to pay salaries is an offence under the Employment Act.

One of Chen’s employees, Monir Hossain Abdul Malek, a 29-year-old Bangladeshi, was also charged with 21 counts of abetting Chen to collect the kickbacks. Monir was employed as a construction worker at Hong Lu Engineering at the time of the offences.

The incident came to light after some workers who were denied their payments approached the Ministry of Manpower for help in September 2016. Investigations revealed that Chen, as Hong Lu Engineering’s director, allegedly received a monthly sum of between $2,500 and $3,600 from his foreign employees between May 2015 and February 2016.

While he was the Managing Director of Trusty Aluminium, Chen was said to have received a monthly sum of between $2,500 and $4,000 between September 2015 and July 2016. A total of $64,600 in kickbacks were collected by Monir, allegedly under Chen’s instructions.

If convicted on collecting kickbacks, Chen can be jailed for up to two years and/or fined $30,000 on each charge. Monir will face the same penalty if convicted on abetting the collection of kickbacks.

If convicted on failing to pay salaries, Chen can be jailed for up to six months, and/or fined up to $15,000 on each charge.