SINGAPORE – A 42-year-old Singaporean man has been charged with 11 counts of helping employers house migrant workers in unacceptable housing, which allegedly involved packing 39 in premises for 12 people.
Lau Liang Thye has also been charged with one count of illegally employing a migrant worker without a valid work card and three counts of unauthorized arrangement of private residential units into dormitories.
Another Singaporean, Tay Kim Kiat, 58, faces three counts, including converting a private residential unit to provide unauthorized dormitory accommodation and allowing Lau to provide dormitory accommodation in two other units.
The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in a joint statement on Tuesday (October 5th) that they had inspected a pair of three-story boutique houses in Lorong 23 Geylang on December 3, 2018.
A total of 39 occupants lived in the two rooms which had been partitioned.
Investigations revealed that Lau had rented the second and third floors of the two premises in Tay and sublet them to other tenants, including 22 migrant workers.
In addition, Lau is said to have sublet partitioned rooms on the roof of the two premises without Tay’s knowledge.
The 39 tenants found residing in the two premises had exceeded the occupancy ceiling rules of the URA by no more than six independent occupants in each of the premises.
Employers of migrant workers have been ordered to relocate all affected workers to suitable and approved accommodation within two weeks, the agencies said.
Lau also reportedly employed one of his tenants, Zhu Guangpeng, a 46-year-old Chinese national, as a housekeeper and rent collector in exchange for a reduction in his rent when Zhu did not have an employment card. valid to do so.
Under URA regulations, private residential properties are subject to an occupancy cap of six unrelated persons. All occupants must also stay for a minimum of three consecutive months.
Owners must ensure that their properties are not used for any unauthorized purpose.
Those who have rented their residential properties should verify the names of work permit holders registered to reside at their addresses using the Foreign Worker Tenant Investigation Service.
They should physically check their premises periodically for fire hazards and overcrowding.
Under the Employment of Foreign Manpower (Labor Cards) Regulations 2012, employers are required to ensure that their migrant workers reside in acceptable accommodation that meets various legal requirements.
Employers who fail to do so can be fined up to $ 10,000 or jailed for up to 12 months, or both, for each charge.
Migrant workers who have housing issues can report the problem to MOM at 6438-5122 or call the Migrant Workers Center (MWC) hotline at 6536-2692.