SINGAPORE – A man who rented a room out to a foreigner who had overstayed was sentenced to six months’ jail on Tuesday, said the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA).
Lim Sin Kian, 53, had rented a room out to Zhao Shunnu, now 58, in his Bedok Reservoir flat for $550 a month, in January 2021, according to ICA.
In June 2021, Lim then rented out another room to Jin Xiannu, now 60, through the introduction of Zhao, for the same monthly fee.
Despite knowing that his tenants were foreigners, Lim did not check their identification documents and verify whether their stays in Singapore were valid, ICA said.
Lim found out that Zhao and Jin were overstayers in June 2023, but continued to let them stay in his home until Aug 30, 2023, thereby committing an offence of harbouring immigration offenders under the Immigration Act.
Zhao and Jin, both Chinese nationals, were arrested by the ICA on Aug 30, 2023, for illegally staying in Singapore after their visit passes had expired on May 23, 2009, and April 24, 2006, respectively.
Zhao and Jin were sentenced to six months’ jail each, and a fine of $2,500 and $3,500 respectively.
One count of harbouring Jin was taken into consideration during Lim’s sentencing.
For knowingly or recklessly harbouring overstayers, one may be sentenced to between six months and two years’ jail, and a fine of up to $6,000.
Those found guilty of negligently harbouring overstayers and illegal immigrants can be jailed up to 12 months, fined up to $6,000, or both.
ICA advised those who want to rent out their homes to check the prospective tenant’s original immigration or work pass against their original passport, and to verify the validity of the pass with the issuing authority, such as the ICA for immigration passes.
“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,” ICA said.
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This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.