Singapore PR duped his foreign wife into believing she wasn't overstaying in Singapore for nearly 3 years

Amir Hussain
Senior Reporter
David Andrew Hygate, 51, pleaded guilty to two charges of forgery and one of aiding an overstayer. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

SINGAPORE — A Singapore permanent resident forged documents from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) and a law firm, duping his foreign wife into thinking that her stay in Singapore for nearly three years was lawful, a court heard.

David Andrew Hygate, a 51-year-old British national, thought the authorities wouldn’t extend his 39-year-old Filipino wife Marilou Cambo’s Long-Term Visit Pass (LTVP) because he was unemployed and in financial difficulty. So he didn’t apply for the LTVP extension.

Unbeknownst to her, she remained in the country unlawfully for two years, 10 months and 25 days - from 27 September 2015 to 20 August last year.

At the State Courts on Friday (13 September), Hygate, a former pharmacologist, was jailed for 14 weeks and fined $8,000.

He pleaded guilty to two out of eight charges of forgery and one count of intentionally aiding an overstayer.

The remaining six forgery charges and one count of harbouring an immigration offender were considered in sentencing as part of his plea bargain.

Afraid his wife wouldn’t get LTVP extension

Hygate, who has been a Singapore permanent resident since June 2009, relocated to Singapore in February 2014 with Marilou, the court heard.

He applied for a LTVP for his wife, and she was issued one in September 2014, which expired in September 2015.

“However, as the accused subsequently became unemployed and faced financial difficulties, he was afraid that ICA would not grant an extension of Marilou’s LTVP as he was unable to sponsor her continued stay in Singapore,” said Deputy Public Prosecutor Foong Leong Parn.

Hygate didn’t apply for an extension of the LTVP. When his wife asked him about the extension around September 2015, he decided to forge emails to show her.

“In order not to worry Marilou, the accused decided to forge various extension of LTVP emails purportedly sent by the Visitor Services Centre of ICA to his personal email account,” said DPP Foong.

“These emails were then forwarded by the accused to Marilou to deceive her that her LTVP had been extended yearly by ICA and she was allowed to continue staying in Singapore,” added the prosecutor.

Around October 2017, when Marilou asked Hygate about the extension of her LTVP, he forged emails purportedly sent by the law firm Drew and Napier to make his deception even more convincing.

On 20 August last year, ICA officers conducted a check at Hygate and Marilou’s residence and found them both there.

ICA investigators then found the forged emails in Marilou’s mobile, which had been forwarded to her by Hygate.

The emails purportedly showed that Marilou’s LTVP had been extended in 2015 and 2017. However, the ICA Visitor Centre verified that there were no applications for the extensions.

For each of his proceeded forgery charges, Hygate could have been jailed for up to four years and fined.

Marilou has been repatriated after serving a 14-week jail term for overstaying.

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