SINGAPORE: A Bangladeshi man has been sentenced to eight months’ jail after subletting a unit to two overstayers, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said on Tuesday (May 21).
Mondol Faruk, 40, was found guilty of harbouring a Sri Lankan immigration offender. A second charge of harbouring another Sri Lankan overstayer was taken into consideration for sentencing.
Faruk was staying at a unit at Cuff Road in Little India, and had been tasked by the main tenants to take care of the unit and collect rental from the other occupants.
He was not authorised to allow anyone else to stay in the unit, said ICA, but he sublet the unit to two 22-year-old Sri Lankan men, Savarimuthu Kanistan and Agalepola Shaween Ashinshana.
Both men did not offer any identification documents to Faruk, and he did not ask them to verify if their stay in Singapore is still valid.
During a check by ICA officers on Mar 13, both Sri Lankans were arrested. Kanistan had overstayed for 33 days after the expiry of his visit pass, and Ashinshana had overstayed by six days.
The main tenants were given verbal advisories as it was established the unit was sublet by Faruk without their knowledge, said ICA.
Both Sri Lankan overstayers were handed fines on Mar 14 for immigration offences. Kanistan was fined S$2,500 and served three weeks’ jail in default of the fine, while Ashinshana was handed a S$500 fine, of which he served two days in prison in default of the fine.
“As Faruk did not exercise due diligence by carrying out at least two out of three checks required under the law before allowing the two Sri Lankans to stay at the unit he had rented, he had committed an offence of harbouring immigration offenders with reckless disregard under the Immigration Act,” ICA said a media release.
Anyone who wishes to rent their premises to foreign tenants must check the tenant’s original immigration or work pass, and cross check those particulars against the tenant’s passport.
They must also verify the validity of the pass with the issuing authority, such as the Ministry of Manpower for work passes and ICA for other immigration passes.
“The ICA takes a firm stance against any person who harbours immigration offenders,” the authority said.
“Those who wish to rent their premises must exercise due diligence in checking the status of their prospective foreign tenants to ensure that their status in Singapore is legal.”
Anyone only carrying out one of the checks can be found guilty of recklessly or knowingly harbouring overstayers or illegal immigrants, and may be sentenced to a jail term of between six months and two years, and a maximum fine of S$6,000.
If the person only carried out two of the three checks, they might be found guilty of negligently harbouring overstayers, and could be given a maximum fine of S$6,000, an imprisonment no longer than 12 months, or both.