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     FrontPage Edition: Sun 12 Mar 2006

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ICA raid in 2 HDB blocks nets 33 immigration offenders

Source: www.ica.gov.sg

Operation 'See-Hum'
 
In the early hours of 08 Mar 2006, officers from the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) conducted a joint-operation with the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) and raided 13 units in two Housing & Development Board (HDB) blocks in Marsiling Estate.
A total of 33 immigration offenders who were engaged in cockles shucking and six harbourers were arrested.
Under the cover of the night, ICA and AVA officers positioned themselves around Marsiling Estate and laid in wait.
A lorry was soon spotted driving into the estate. Bags of cockles were observed to be handed over to some suspected immigration offenders who brought them back to the nearby housing units.
The lorry was subsequently intercepted by our officers a short distance away. ICA officers quickly moved to the housing units in question and raided the units.
A short while later, a second lorry was seen driving into the same estate and another transaction of cockles took place. As it moved off, the second lorry was intercepted by our officers and follow-up raids were made to the housing units.
A total of 146 kg of cockles and 450 kg of shucked cockles were found on the two lorries. Another 157kg of cockles and 924kg of shucked cockles were seized from the flats. All the cockles were seized and destroyed by AVA.
The immigration offenders arrested were aged between 22 ?53 years old. Preliminary investigations revealed that the immigration offenders were paid a daily rate of $16 - $24 for shucking cockles.
The immigration offenders and the six Singaporean harbourers have been referred to ICA and the Singapore Police Force (SPF) for further investigations.
ICA takes a serious view of attempts by foreigners to overstay or enter Singapore illegally.
Under the Immigration Act (Cap 133), the penalties for overstaying or illegal entry are a jail term of up to six months plus a minimum of three strokes of the cane.
Under the AVA's Wholesome Meat and Fish Act, any person who uses any premises or permit any premises to be used as a processing establishment is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both.
ICA would also like to remind the public that it is an offence to offer shelter and employment to immigration offenders. Homeowners can make use of ICA's online checking system, called 'VERIFI' (or Verification of Foreigner Immigration Status) to verify the immigration passes of their prospective tenants.
VERIFI can be accessed through ICA's internet website: http://www.ica.gov.sg and allows users to receive an instantaneous reply on the validity of the immigration passes presented to them.
Similarly, MOM has a system to allow the checking on the validity of work passes at its website: http://www.mom.gov.sg.
Everyone has a part to play in keeping Singapore safe and secure. We urge members of public with information regarding immigration offenders to call ICA at Tel: 1800-391 6150 or contact the Police.
END OF NEWS RELEASE
9 Mar 2006

Source: www.ica.gov.sg News Release 9 Mar 2006

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