Company and directors fined $257,000 for overcrowded conditions in illegally converted workers' dormitory
66 workers crammed into space meant for 8
The two rented shophouse spaces were legally allowed to house up to eight people, but a construction company squeezed in 66 workers.
Genocean Enterprises was fined $60,000 yesterday for converting private residential properties into workers' dormitories without planning permission.
It has also been barred from hiring foreign workers.
Its two Singaporean directors, Shi Baoyi, 48, and Chen Ming, 55, were fined $137,000 and $60,000, respectively, after admitting to housing workers in overcrowded conditions.
District Judge Marvin Bay said in court: "The occupation of overcrowded and cluttered facilities would lead to attendant hazards, including fire safety and electrocution risks.
"It would be difficult to envisage 66 workers being able to evacuate safely through the clutter and potential obstructions caused by the accumulated belongings of these workers."
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in a press release that the occupancy cap of the premises at Lorong 14 Geylang, at the time of the offences, was eight people. It has since been revised to six people.
Inspections conducted by MOM and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) found that bed spaces were added to accommodate foreign workers.
This led to severe overcrowding with unsanitary living conditions.
Investigations also revealed that Shi, Chen, and Genocean Enterprises had converted a third space at Lorong Kismis, near Toh Tuck Walk, into an unauthorised workers' dormitory in June and July 2015.
Shi submitted false address information to the Controller of Work Passes in August and September 2016 for 12 foreign workers. He also failed to update the addresses of another 40 foreign workers in March and April 2015.
In addition to this, Shi had consented to his company housing 15 foreign workers in another overcrowded space at Geylang Road in 2016.
Ms Jeanette Har, director of MOM's well-being department, foreign manpower management division, said the ministry and other agencies will intensify inspections of accommodation and send a strong signal that employers must look after the welfare of workers.
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