Although we specialise in matters pertaining to corporate law and business issues, such as intellectual property and business structures, sometimes we have the opportunity to work outside of our usual scope – this includes cases where an errant employee of a client was in legal trouble and required legal representation.
Today, we are going to explore offences committed by foreigners who are visiting Singapore for business or are working here under an Employment Pass, and the effects on both the individual and their business.
There are many different passes that allow foreigners to work in Singapore, and without them, a foreigner is deemed as working illegally in the country. Most passes are tied to the individual’s employer who essentially becomes that person’s sponsor whilst they are living and working in Singapore.
As the saying goes, crime does not pay, and in the case of foreigners working or doing business in Singapore, this could not be truer.
Here’s a common scenario:
A client gives us a call to let us know that ‘something has happened’ and they need to see us urgently. We arrange for the meeting and learn that one of their colleagues/employees/business partners have gotten into trouble with the police, and now they need legal representation.
We speak to our new client to get the details of the case and learn that there is already an investigation in progress by the police. In the meantime, our client’s passport has been confiscated and they are unable to leave the country. They have to wait for police investigations to conclude before any new moves can be considered.
During this time, they have to cover legal fees, bail (if applicable), and any other fees pertaining to the legal process. When a judgment is received from the court, additional damages/taxes/fees may be incurred again.
Some of the cases we have dealt with include outrage of modesty, corruption, being a ‘money mule’, sedition, etc. What you see above is a very typical outline of what happens in the legal process – but what happens to the individual and their business?