Singapore ICA officer charged with taking bribes from China women in return for special passes

Teo Hwee Peng (centre) was charged with accepting bribes from two Chinese nationals, Cheng Wenjuan (left) and Liang Qinglan. — TODAY pic
Teo Hwee Peng (centre) was charged with accepting bribes from two Chinese nationals, Cheng Wenjuan (left) and Liang Qinglan. — TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, Nov 25 — A 47-year-old Immigration & Checkpoints Authority of Singapore (ICA) officer was charged yesterday with accepting bribes from two female Chinese nationals between 2018 and last year.

Checkpoints inspector Teo Hwee Peng allegedly took the kickbacks in various forms, such as sex and money, in exchange for helping the women stay in Singapore by arranging for them to get special passes.

He appeared in court yesterday with the women — Liang Qinglan, 37, and Cheng Wenjuan, 32.Special passes are issued by either ICA or the Ministry of Manpower. They allow foreigners to stay in Singapore for specific purposes, such as to assist in investigations and attend court proceedings.

Teo now faces 12 corruption charges, while Liang was handed nine charges.

Cheng was charged with 18 counts of giving gratification, most of which are separately related to bribes she allegedly gave to a vehicle workshop manager.

The manager, Kelvin Lim Chee Wee, 42, was also charged yesterday with 14 counts of corruption.

The charges

Teo is accused of trying to get an Apple iPhone X from Liang, as well as obtaining these:

  • Free sex
  • A red packet with 188.88 yuan (RM116)
  • At least S$2,100 (RM6,088) in cash
  • Loans amounting to about 7,000 yuan
  • Sex on another occasion

In July last year, he allegedly got a free massage and masturbation from Cheng, tried to obtain about S$1,500 and agreed to accept an unspecified amount of money from her.

Cheng was additionally charged with offering Teo a S$500 bribe that he rejected, and offering another unspecified sum as an inducement to provide her information on the arrest status of one Hu Youai.

Court documents did not state who Hu is.

In relation to Lim, the vehicle workshop manager, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau said in a news release that he allegedly lied to Cheng that he used to work at ICA and had friends who could help her get a special pass.

While Lim never worked at ICA, Cheng allegedly bribed him with free sex on eight occasions in exchange for a special pass. He is also accused of soliciting S$7,000 and 1,000 yuan in cash from her for this purpose.

Lim also allegedly solicited about S$2,000 and 3,000 yuan from her for one Lei Guoxiang to get a special pass, too. It is unclear who Lei is.

At least three to claim trial

When they appeared in court yesterday, Teo said that he would be claiming trial and has not decided whether to hire a lawyer. Liang and Cheng also said that they would not plead guilty.

Lim did not enter a plea yet because he wants to engage a lawyer. Teo and Liang will return to court for a pre-trial conference on December 14, while Lim and Cheng will return to court on December 17.

Those convicted of giving or taking gratification can be jailed up to five years or fined up to S$100,000, or both.

In response to TODAY's queries on Teo's status, an ICA spokesperson said that it was not appropriate for it to comment further now since the case is before the courts.

The spokesperson added: “ICA takes a zero tolerance stance on corrupt officers. All ICA officers are expected to maintain a high standard of integrity at all times. Officers who break the law will be severely dealt with accordingly.

“In addition, appropriate disciplinary action would be taken against the officer, in accordance with the civil service disciplinary framework.”

In a similar case last month, an ICA customer service officer and her daughter were jailed for taking a S$1,500 bribe to expedite a Malaysian woman’s Singapore permanent resident application. — TODAY

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