Illustrative image (Source: EPA/VNA)

Singapore (VNA) - A total of 44 suspects were arrested during an enforcement operation against a syndicate involved in bringing in foreign workers for illegal employment, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on August 2.

The operation – lasting more than 48 hours – took place at several locations including offices, residential units and construction sites. As a result, six alleged members of the syndicate and 38 foreign workers were arrested.

According to the ministry, syndicates that illegally bring in foreign labour would typically set up shell companies. They would hire directors of these shell companies, and misuse their SingPass accounts to make fraudulent work pass applications.

Items such as work permit cards, name lists of workers, and SingPass tokens were seized.

Divisional Director of MOM’s Foreign Manpower Management Division, Kevin Teoh, said if convicted, employers can be imprisoned up to two years and fined up to 6,000 USD per charge.

In 2015, MOM conducted four major operations against syndicates involved in the illegal importation of labour. These syndicates had set up four companies and had brought in 300 workers. A total of 12 syndicate members were arrested.-VNA