Friday, January 12, 2007

Corrpution in Singapore

Here's a rare story you would ever hear about Singapore: Corruption.
I picked up a news item from the Philipine Star about a young former immigration officer in Singapore who was charged with corruption.
The officer was charged with granting 14 day social visit visas to women for a fee.
I checked The Strait Times of Singapore, since it was the source of the story that was printed in the Philippine Star.
It was dubed as the "U-Turn Scam."
It was called as such because many of these women after being granted a 14 day social visit upon first entering Singapore, would go to Malaysia and then immediately make a "U-Turn" and re-enter Singapore.
The purpose is to get another fresh 14 day social visit and extend their stay in Singapore.
This has been uncovered by Singapore authorities so they have been tight against this scheme.
One Singaporean immigiration officer, who was assigned to stamp social visit visas near Johor Baru (Malaysia's border city with Singapore), apprently couldn't resist the temptation and acceded to give a stamp in exchange for fifty dollars for each re-entering person.
The story in the Strait Time reported:

AN IMMIGRATION officer was charged with 24 counts of corruption involving a total of $2,150. Siti Sarina Mohamed Kassim, 28, was an Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) specialist at Woodlands checkpoint in 2004 when she allegedly agreed to accept bribes from two men in return for giving 14-day social visit passes to female foreigners

The Philippine Star reported that those who avail of this illegal "U-Turn" scheme were Filipina hostesses who seek to extend their stay in Singapore.
It is unfortunate that the culture of corruption in the Philippines has become contagious and has affected one poor lady immigration officer in Singapore.

We experienced this "U-Turn" scheme in Singapore because we went for a one-day tour to Kuala Lumpur.
Technically that was a "U-Turn" activity since we departed Singapore late in the evening.
We arrived Kuala Lumpur the following day, and came back to Singapore late in the day.
We were given a fresh 14-day social visa.
But of course, we didn't have any intention of extending our stay in Singapore.
In such situations, it would be advisable to bring along your return plane ticket to convince the Sinapore immigiration that indeed you are going back to the Philippines on a particuar day.

No comments: