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A 46-year-old Singaporean man arranged for a woman who is a Chinese national to marry his older brother instead.
This was done in order to extend her visa, so that the man could continue to be with her.
The man, Pang Beng Lee, and the woman, Qin Fuxing, were both convicted and sentenced on Mar. 11 (Thursday) for offences under the Immigration Act.
Arranged for a Marriage of Convenience
According to a Mar. 11 press release by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA), investigations found that Beng Lee had arranged for a Marriage of Convenience (MOC) between his elder brother, Pang Beng Hai — who has since passed away — and Qin.
A marriage of convenience is one in which the purpose is to help one of the parties obtain an immigration advantage, and in which some form of gratification is offered, given, or received as a way to persuade or reward any party to enter into the marriage.
Beng Lee and Qin first met when Qin was living and working in Malaysia in 2013. However, they could not register their marriage, because Beng Lee was already married with children.
Beng Lee knew that his elder brother needed a flat to stay in after transferring ownership of his flat to his ex-wife, so he suggested to Beng Hai that he marry Qin.
That way, they could apply for subsidised public housing by virtue of the marriage, and Beng Lee could continue to be with Qin.
Beng Hai and Qin had their marriage solemnised on Sep. 11, 2017, with Beng Lee as the witness.
Qin then managed to extend her stay in Singapore several times, with Beng Hai acting as her sponsor.
Beng Lee also helped Beng Hai and Qin make false statements, by declaring that “the couple” were staying together at the same residential address as was stated on Qin’s Visit Pass applications.
Arrested at three different residential addresses
On May 31, 2018, ICA officers arrested Beng Lee, Beng Hai, and Qin for MOC and false statement offences. They were arrested at three different residential addresses in Jurong, Hougang, and Woodlands respectively.
Charges against Beng Hai for his involvement in the MOC and false statement offences were abated because he passed away in April 2020.
On Mar. 11, 2021, Beng Lee was sentenced to 12 months and two weeks’ imprisonment. Qin was sentenced to 10 months and two weeks’ imprisonment.
For the MOC, the two could have been fined up to S$10,000, jailed for up to 10 years, or both.
For making false statements to obtain immigration facilities, the penalty is a fine of up to S$4,000, a jail term of up to 12 months, or both.
“ICA takes a serious view of individuals trying to circumvent our system by engaging in or arranging/assisting to arrange MOCs to obtain immigration facilities in Singapore,” the press release said.
ICA added that it will continue to take firm enforcement, and will “spare no effort” in investigating these cases.
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Top photo via Samantha Gades on Unsplash.