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47-yr-old Singaporean and 42-yr-old Chinese national jailed for entering into Marriage of Convenience

A 47-year-old male Singaporean, Mow Cheang Chong (Mow), and a 42-year-old female Chinese national, Wang Xiaoyan (Wang), were each sentenced to six months’ imprisonment on 18 July 2019 for offences under the Immigration Act.

According to the press release from the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) on Wednesday (7 August), investigations revealed that Mow and Wang befriended each other at a public entertainment outlet that Wang was working at in early 2015.

When Wang’s work pass was cancelled in March 2015, she left Singapore but kept in contact with Mow. As Wang had ambitions to return to Singapore for work, they agreed to enter into a marriage of convenience (MOC) with each other so that Wang could have an advantage in obtaining immigration facilities in Singapore. In return, Wang would give Mow gratification in the form of sexual favours.

Mow and Wang then solemnised their marriage in the People’s Republic of China on 28 Oct 2015 and Wang returned to Singapore sometime in September 2016. During this period, Wang extended her stay in Singapore several times with Mow acting as the sponsor for her visit pass applications.

The authority then granted her a Long Term Visit Pass on 22 February 2017. Mow and Wang had declared in all of her visit pass applications that they were staying together when they were not.

On 2 March 2017, Wang was arrested by officers from the Singapore Police Force (SPF) during a raid at a massage establishment in Orchard. After suspecting that Wang was involved in a MOC, SPF referred Wang and Mow to the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) on 3 March 2017 for further investigation.

ICA then charged the ‘couple’ for entering into a MOC and for making false statements to attempt to obtain visit passes. After a trial, the ‘couple’ was convicted on 17 May 2019.

ICA stressed that it takes a serious view of individuals trying to circumvent our system by engaging in or arranging/assisting to arrange marriages of convenience to obtain immigration facilities in Singapore. The penalties for the offence are a fine not exceeding S$10,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years, or both.

Any person who makes a false statement to obtain or to attempt to obtain an entry or a re-entry permit, pass, Singapore visa or certificate for himself or for any other person, shall also be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding S$4,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or both.

ICA also noted that 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.” wrote ICA.