In a press statement, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) reported that Chen Quan, director of Hong Lu Engineering Pte Ltd has been charged for kickback offences. Chen, 35, who is also managing director of Trusty Aluminium Pte Ltd, is accused of collecting more than $64,000 from 21 foreign workers, as a condition for their employment.

He was formally charged on 31 October 2017.

Chen is also facing charges for failing to pay salaries amounting to over $32,000. He faces 45 counts under the Employment Act for this. It is not clear whether the affected employees are the same as those from whom he is alleged to have collected kickbacks.

MOM’s statement added that a Bangladeshi national named Monir Hossain Abdul Malek, 29, was also charged with 21 counts under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act for abetting Chen to collect the kickbacks. Monir was then employed as a construction worker under Hong Lu Engineering Pte Ltd.

MOM said that the case was uncovered when some of the affected workers approached MOM for assistance in September 2016.  TWC2’s records indicate that a few of these workers came through us and we assisted them with their claim proceedings.

In its statement, MOM explained:

Investigations revealed that Chen, in his capacity as a Director of Hong Lu Engineering Pte Ltd, received a monthly sum of between $2,500 and $3,600 from his foreign workers between May 2015 and February 2016. As the Managing Director of Trusty Aluminium Pte Ltd, Chen had allegedly received a monthly sum of between $2,500 and $4,000 between September 2015 and July 2016. All kickback monies totalling $64,600 were collected by Monir, purportedly under Chen’s instructions. Investigations also revealed that Chen had failed to pay basic salaries and overtime pay to 10 foreign workers, amounting to more than $32,000.

Taking money from foreign employees is an offence under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act. If found guilty, imprisonment is a likely outcome.