A 42-year-old Singaporean man has been jailed 18 months and fined $13,000 for offences under the Immigration Act, including arranging two marriages of convenience between Singaporean men and Vietnamese women.
Tan Chuen Zin, who was arrested in March 2017, was also convicted for harbouring the women despite knowing that they had contravened the Immigration Act, said the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) in a media release on Tuesday (22 January).
Other charges were taken into consideration for Tan’s sentencing, including those for abetting the Singaporean men in making false statements in their visit pass applications for the Vietnamese women and arranging another marriage of convenience involving a Singaporean man and Vietnamese woman.
If Tan does not pay the fine, he will have to serve an additional three months in jail.
In May 2016, David Sim, a 52-year-old Singaporean, approached Tan for job recommendations as he was facing financial difficulties, the ICA said.
Tan then asked Sim if he was interested to enter into a marriage of convenience. Sim was told that he did not have to fulfil any marital obligations but was required to sponsor a Vietnamese national’s visit pass applications.
In return, he would be paid a sum of $4,000 along with $300 for each successful visit pass sponsorship. Sim agreed to the proposal.
In July 2016, Tran Thuy Bich Tran, a 24-year-old Vietnamese woman, approached Tan for advice to remain in Singapore as her work permit was due to expire, said the ICA.
Tan suggested for Tran to enter into a marriage of convenience. She would have to pay $9,000 for the arrangement and thereafter $300 for each successful visit pass extension.
In November 2016, as per Tan’s arrangement, Sim and Tran solemnised their “marriage” at a restaurant.
Tran paid S$9,000 to Tan and Sim was given $4,000 as a reward. Tran did not live with Sim but stayed in Tan’s apartment and paid him $530 per month for rent.
Both Sim and Tran were arrested by ICA officers on 20 February 2017. Each was sentenced to six months’ jail for the sham marriage and falsifying statements in the visit pass applications.
In May 2016, Tan Jian You, a 27-year-old Singaporean, told the older Tan that he was facing financial difficulties. The latter suggested that he enter into a marriage of convenience for a reward of $1,500, said the ICA.
Similarly, Tan Jian You was told that he did not have to fulfil any marital obligations but would need to sponsor 23-year-old Vo Thi Diem Kieu’s visit pass applications so she could remain in Singapore.
In November 2016, the Vietnamese woman and Jian You solemnised their “marriage” at a restaurant as arranged by TanChuen Zin.
Vo paid Tan Chuen Zin $9,000 and Tan Jian You received $1,500 as a reward his part in the sham marriage. Like Tran, the woman did not live with Jian You but stayed in Tan’s apartment and paid him a monthly rental of $530.
Vo and Jian You were also arrested by ICA officers on 20 February 2017 and were each sentenced to six months’ jail.
Emphasising that it takes a serious view of marriages of convenience, ICA said it will continue to take firm enforcement action against errant couples and middlemen.
“We will spare no effort in investigating such cases, and will pursue every available lead,” said the authority.
Members of the public can report any suspected cases of sham marriages to the ICA at 1800-391 6150.
If convicted of arranging such marriages, offenders can be fined up to $10,000, jailed up to 10 years, or both. Those convicted of recklessly or knowingly harbouring overstayers and/or illegal immigrants, offenders can be jailed up to two years and fined up to $6,000.
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