Five companies were convicted for a variety of offences involving mistreatment of their foreign employees, reported Channel NewsAsia on 30 May 2013. (Link). They were named as:

  • Soon Aik Marine Engineering Pte Ltd,
  • Soon Aik Offshore Pte Ltd,
  • Soon Aik Shipbuilding Pte Ltd,
  • Yong Soon Shipbuilding Pte Ltd, and
  • Yong Soon Marine Engineering Pte Ltd.

Their names suggest that they are related companies.

They pleaded guilty to 44 charges of  failing to pay employee salaries on time, failing to provide acceptable accommodation and failing to update their foreign employees’ addresses in the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) Online Foreign Worker Address System (OFWAS). 174 other charges were taken into consideration for sentencing.

Despite the large number of charges, the companies were only fined a total of $80,000.

CNA reported that the ministry will also bar the five companies from hiring new foreign workers or renewing the work passes of existing workers.

Prosecution came about a year after abuses were discovered in April 2012 when MOM conducted inspections of premises in Tuas where the workers were living and found that these were not authorised for use as workers’ dormitories. Reported CNA:

“The premises were overcrowded, crammed and dirty. There were insufficient toilets, overflowing rubbish bins and infestations of rodents and cockroaches. There was also no proper emergency exit route at the dormitories.

MOM ordered the companies to relocate the affected workers to approved accommodation immediately following the inspections.”

According to the report, the salaries owed to workers have since been recovered.

The news story added that in the first four months of 2013, MOM conducted about 300 inspections and took action against 428 employers for housing violations.