58-yr-old Chinese national sentenced to a year in jail and fined S$3,000 after working in Singapore illegally for 15 years

58-yr-old Chinese national sentenced to a year in jail and fined S$3,000 after working in Singapore illegally for 15 years

SINGAPORE — A Chinese national who lived and worked in Singapore illegally for 15 years was sentenced to a year in jail and fined S$3,000 after pleading guilty to two charges under the Immigration Act on Wednesday (28 Dec).

The 58-year-old Yan Jinfa was reported by Straits Times to have been in the country from 2007 to 2022 despite being banned from entering the country since 2006.

Yan was deported from Singapore in November 2006 after being sentenced to three months’ jail and five strokes of the cane for entering Singapore without a valid pass.

He was then prohibited from entering Singapore without permission from the immigration authorities from then.

Yan got assistance from an agent in China to get to Malaysia at a price of 10,000 yuan.

After arriving in Malaysia on 24 November 2007, Yan sought help from a Singaporean friend to enter Singapore a few days later.

The friend then assisted Yan in entering Singapore on a motorboat for S$20,000 in December 2007.

Yan paid the Singaporean friend S$15,000 and worked for him as a carpenter at a furniture factory to pay off the balance before moving on to other jobs.

According to ST, Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers arrested Yan in the vicinity of Tampines Industrial Park A on 19 Dec 2022, after he could not produce evidence that he was in Singapore legally.

However, court documents did not state how his offences came to light.

After pleading guilty to the offences, Yan said he is remorseful for what he has done and wishes to return to China as soon as possible to care for his 98-year-old mother.

“Recently, my right ring finger was amputated accidentally at work and this affected my nerves, resulting in frequent fainting spells,” he said.

In response to ST’s query on how Yan had avoided detection for 15 years, ICA said it continues to keep the immigration offender situation under control through enforcement and biometric technology.

“In addition to border control measures at the checkpoints, ICA also mounts regular enforcement operations inland to detect and remove such offenders from Singapore,” it added.

Netizens on ST’s Facebook post raised more questions about the story.

One asked, “How did he manage to live and work illegally in Singapore for 15 years? To rent a room, apply for a cellular line, open a bank account, receive medical treatment, a valid work pass or residency permit is required. Some people must have been knowingly harbouring and providing employment to an undocumented alien.”

Another wrote, “Undetected for 15 years? OMG, are the authorities sleeping or dreaming? Entered without detection and remain unknown status quo for freaking 15 years. Good job. Pat yourselves on the back for a job undone.”

The most puzzling aspect of the story is how Yan managed to be undetected during the two years of the pandemic, where he would have to use TraceTogether for virtually everything.

Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments