A report in Today, 24 May 2013, provided a glimpse into and some figures relating to raids conducted in Little India to ferret out illegal workers. In “Two foreigners arrested for suspected illegal employment”, the newspaper reported that officers from the Ministry of Manpower checked twelve shops along Kinta Road, Race Course Road and Race Course Lane, Wednesday (22 May) evening.

The story said that a total of 46 persons had their papers examined. Fourteen turned out to be locals and 32 were foreigners, of whom two did not have valid work passes. These two were arrested.

Three other foreigners were also hauled off “on suspected false salary declarations”, said the newspaper. While it wasn’t reported exactly what led to the suspicions, typically it would be a case of a worker found doing a menial job, yet holding a valid S-Pass — a category meant for skilled workers earning over $2,000 a month in basic salary. The economics of employing someone on such a salary, but doing a low-skill job, would be most unusual, and there would be reason to suspect that salary kickbacks are involved. Whether the employee willingly agreed to kickbacks or had portions of his pay deducted involuntarily, would be something worth investigating.

Today added that in the first four months of 2013, a total of 381 foreigners were caught committing illegal employment offences by MOM in its raids.