Behind the Scenes - Operation Day Hawk
24 August 2012
In the heart of Chinatown is People's Park Complex, a mall and food haven popular with locals and tourists alike.
Earlier this month, enforcement inspectors from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) set out to conduct checks in People’s Park Complex for possible breaches to the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA). This was part of MOM’s regular surprise checks that target unsuspecting illegal workers.
Undercover MOM officers had surveyed the situation for several days by discreetly observing the various food stalls and keeping a low profile amidst the bustling activities in Chinatown.
When Operation Day Hawk started, MOM officers donned their MOM vests and swooped in from all directions into the complex. Firstly, the officers blocked all exit routes. Next, they quickly identified themselves to the operators of the targeted stalls and proceeded to inspect the stall assistants’ work permits, to see if they had valid work permits. Although the stall assistants were caught off-guard, they remained cooperative and duly produced their identification documents for MOM’s checks.
MOM officers verifying the particulars of the stall assistants
An MOM officer interviewing a food stall assistant
Out of the nine targeted food stalls that were inspected, four were found to have foreign workers who had infringed the EFMA. Four Indonesian Social Visit Pass (SVP) holders and two Chinese nationals, an S Pass holder and a Work Permit holder, were also arrested. The Indonesian SVP holders were found working without Work Permits while the Chinese nationals had breached the Work Pass Conditions1. Investigations are currently in progress.
MOM officers arresting the illegal workers
Illegal workers escorted by MOM officers to assist with more detailed investigations
In the first half of 2012, MOM had conducted 663 operations and 754 foreign workers were arrested for various offences under the EFMA. Most of these operations arose due to information gathered from various sources, including members of public, neighbouring stall owners, as well as current or former employees of the errant companies.
Anyone convicted of infringing the EFMA can be fined up to $15,000 or face a jail term not exceeding 12 months or both. Errant employers or companies may also be debarred from renewing or applying for foreign workers.
MOM will continue to step up checks and enforcement efforts against employers and foreign workers who circumvent the Work Pass framework. If you have any reliable and accurate information on illegal deployment or employment, you can email email@example.com with your contact details. We may need to contact you to clarify the details of the information. All information, including your identity, will be kept strictly confidential.
1 A breach of Work Pass Conditions occurs when an employee works under conditions other than that specified on his Work Permit.