Two Malaysians arrested in Singapore for working illegally as riders for Deliveroo, Foodpanda

The Ministry of Manpower said it has launched investigations against Deliveroo and Foodpanda after a tip-off led to the arrests of the two men in separate operations. ― TODAY pic
The Ministry of Manpower said it has launched investigations against Deliveroo and Foodpanda after a tip-off led to the arrests of the two men in separate operations. ― TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, May 16 — The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has called on food delivery companies to do more to prevent the misuse of their accounts after two foreigners were caught working illegally as delivery riders here.

The men, both Malaysians on social visit passes here, had been using Deliveroo and Foodpanda accounts belonging to Singaporeans.

In a statement today, MOM said it has launched investigations against the two delivery companies after a tip-off led to the arrests of the two men in separate operations.

The first man, 24, was caught in a four-hour operation at [email protected] on April 25, said MOM.

Preliminary investigations revealed that he had been using his Singaporean friend’s Deliveroo account to receive food orders. The friend then allegedly got a cut of the fees earned, said MOM.

The ministry then carried out follow-up operations between April 30 and May 7 at Plaza Singapura, Malacca Street (near Raffles Place), Tanglin Mall, Novena Square, Nex Shopping Centre, and Ang Mo Kio Hub, which led to the arrest of the second man, aged 21.

“(He) was found to be using both Foodpanda and Deliveroo accounts belonging to a Singaporean who had hired him illegally for the job,” said MOM.

Responding to TODAY’s queries, Deliveroo said that it “has a zero-tolerance approach on this matter and takes this extremely seriously”.

“All riders who work with Deliveroo must have the right to work in Singapore. We require all riders to be either a Singapore citizen or a permanent resident. Riders engaged by Deliveroo have these checks completed before on-boarding, and riders who use substitutes are contractually responsible for ensuring the same,” said a spokesperson.

Deliveroo will be cooperating fully with MOM, said the spokesperson, who added that “using substitutes is a legitimate feature of being self-employed, but Deliveroo will immediately end the contract of any rider found subcontracting to an individual without right to work status”.

When contacted, competitor Grab said that it takes a “serious view on app sharing, and will temporarily suspend any riders caught doing so, along with re-education of our code of conduct”.

“Repeat offenders may also be banned from Grabfood's platform,” said a spokesperson.

She added that the company’s Grabfood service has been moved under its main Grab app, and will feature “selfie verification” as an “extra layer of protection” to verify riders’ identities.

In its statement, MOM reminded that foreigners who wish to work in Singapore must obtain valid work passes.

From 2016 to 2018, about 900 social visit pass holders were taken to task for working illegally here, while another 550 employers were dealt with for employing them, said MOM.

Those caught working without a valid work pass, and others found abetting the offence will face a fine of up to S$20,000 (RM60,760) or imprisonment of up to two years, or both.

Foreigners found guilty will also be barred from entering and working in Singapore.

Employers of illegal workers face a fine of at least S$5,000 and not more than S$30,000, or imprisonment of up to 12 months, or both.

Said Felix Ong, Director, Employment Inspectorate, at MOM’s Foreign Manpower Management Division, “Foreigners on social visit passes are not allowed to undertake any form of work or employment. MOM will not hesitate to take strong enforcement actions against both foreigners and employers who violate the law.”

TODAY has reached out to Foodpanda for comments. ― TODAY

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