Operation Cheetah – Swoop on Pasar Malams
24 March 201117 March 2011, 1800 hrs (Pioneer MRT Station) – It was yet another day for stall operators at a pasar malam (night market in Malay) near Pioneer MRT Station. Traders hawked their wares while customers haggled over prices – all unaware that a group of undercover enforcement officers from MOM were circling the premises, waiting to swoop in on illegal workers at more than 10 stalls.
|Pasar Malam at Pioneer MRT Station|
|MOM officers entering the stalls|
Within seconds, MOM officers whipped out their identification cards and entered the stalls, cornering the workers and their employers. There was no fighting or screaming as the officers placed handcuffs on the suspects and recorded their particulars. Most knew they had no place to run. And the element of surprise certainly worked well in Operation Cheetah!
|Foreigners caught working illegally|
Earlier in the day, MOM officers also arrested five foreigners for working illegally at a Sengkang night market raid, bringing the total number caught under Operation Cheetah to 17. All were brought back to MOM for further investigations.
This is the biggest undercover operation MOM’s Foreign Manpower Management Division has undertaken so far this year. Some 50 MOM officers were involved in the day-long swoop on the two night markets.
|Foreigners led away by MOM officers|
|Bringing the foreigners back to MOM for investigations|
"In 2010, MOM conducted 99 inspections island wide targeting 44 night markets. Forty-five stall owners were found to have illegally hired foreigners and 119 foreigners were arrested for working illegally at night market stalls. Most were here on social visit passes while the rest were work pass holders.
In the first two months this year, six inspections were carried out on two night markets which netted 7 social visit pass holders for working illegally.
Anyone with information on such offences is encouraged to contact MOM. You can call the MOM hotline at (65) 6438 5122 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to provide information. Calls and email will be kept strictly confidential. "