Honeymoon is over for Vietnamese women in sham marriages

Members of a sham marriage syndicate busted in Singapore, with Jeremy Tan (top left) being the mastermind. Photo courtesy of Singapore's Immigration and Checkpoints Authority

They paid Singaporean men to marry them so they could stay on in the country.

A racket involving sham marriages to help Vietnamese women stay on in Singapore has been busted, Singaporean authorities have announced.

Of the 17 people involved, 12, including five Vietnamese women have been sentenced to varying terms in prison, Singapore’s Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said at a press conference on Tuesday, Channel NewsAsia reported.

Two members of the syndicate have fled the country, one has been freed on health considerations and another two are currently on trial, the ICA said.

The ICA began investigating the case in March 2017 and identified the syndicate members, including mastermind Jeremy Tan, by July the same year.

The Singaporean men, aged 23-45, received sums raging from SGD800 to SGD4,500 ($600-3,300) for entering the sham marriages.

The seven women they married were all Vietnamese aged 22 to 28, who paid between $4,400 and $11,800 for the sham marriages so they could continue staying in Singapore, according to The Straits Times.

Jeremy Tan, 32, was sentenced to 24 months in jail and fined $30,900. The others, six Singaporean men and five Vietnamese women were jailed for between six and 18 months.

Tan arranged the first sham marriage in 2014 between 28-year-old Vietnamese Le Y Senl, who was in Singapore on a 30-day pass, and his friend, 27-year-old Alvin Quek.

Quek received $600 and Le paid Tan $4,800 for the arrangement. Quek and Le stayed separately. Quek went on to take part in other sham marriages. In 2017, he was jailed for 30 months and Le was sentenced for half a year.

In November 2016, Jeremy Tan and a Vietnamese nicknamed “Jenny” arranged a sham marriage for Vietnamese Le Nhu Ngoc with Singaporean Ong Yao Hui, both 24 years old. The Vietnamese woman paid Tan $8,800 while Ong received $600.

The ICA said 53 people were sentenced last year for activities related to sham marriages, down from 124 in 2013.

Singapore criminalized such marriages of convenience in 2012. – VNExpress

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