KTV Covid-19 cluster: Hostess on short-term visit pass sponsored by Singaporean boyfriend; at least 30 cases are non-citizens
SINGAPORE — At least eight short-term visit pass holders are among the growing cluster of Covid-19 cases linked to KTV nightclubs, all of whom were not supposed to work as part of the immigration conditions, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) and Manpower Ministry (MOM) said. They include the Vietnamese hostess first linked to the cluster.
- At least 30 people in the KTV cluster are not Singaporeans
- Eight are short-term visit pass holders, including the Vietnamese hostess first linked to the cluster
- Short-term visit pass holders are not allowed to work
- ICA and MOM vowed stern action against any foreigner from the cluster found to have committed an offence
SINGAPORE — At least eight short-term visit pass holders are among the growing cluster of Covid-19 cases linked to KTV nightclubs, all of whom were not supposed to work as part of the immigration conditions, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) and Manpower Ministry (MOM) said.
They include the Vietnamese hostess first linked to the cluster. She had entered Singapore in February this year on a short-term visit pass via the Familial Ties Lane sponsored by her Singaporean boyfriend, the authorities said early on Friday (July 16).
“Short-term visitors cannot engage in any form of employment (paid or unpaid), or in any business, profession or occupation in Singapore,” they said.
Offenders caught breaking this law could have their visit pass cancelled, be deported and be barred from re-entering Singapore.
The authorities are looking into possible offences within the cluster and vowed to take stern action against any foreigner from the cluster who have committed any criminal offence.
The joint statement took into account the first 54 cases from the cluster and did not include the 34 new cases recorded on Thursday.
TRAVEL LANE, TIES WITH PEOPLE IN SINGAPORE
Among the eight short-term visit pass holders, two had entered Singapore before border control measures were imposed on March 21 last year to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Another two entered Singapore late last year via the Air Travel Pass, which allows foreigners — including business and official travellers — from specific countries or regions, including Vietnam, to enter Singapore.
This travel lane was available to visitors travelling from Vietnam to Singapore between Oct 8 last year and Feb 13 this year, the statement said.
The remaining four short-term visit pass holders came to Singapore this year via the Familial Ties Lane, which allows foreigners with intimate ties here to enter the country.
The eight short-term visit pass holders had remained in Singapore by extending their visit pass, the authorities said.
“During this pandemic, ICA has been assessing applications to extend short-term visit passes on a case-by-case basis taking into consideration extenuating reasons, such as international travel restrictions and flight availability, and whether the applicants have family ties in Singapore,” they added.
“For example, Vietnam nationals can only return to Vietnam through relief flights arranged by the Vietnamese authorities.”
ENTERED SINGAPORE BEFORE 2021
Of the first 54 cases linked to the cluster, 30 were non-citizens.
Among them were:
Two Singapore permanent residents
Fourteen work pass holders
One student’s pass holder
Five long-term visit pass holders
Eight short-term visit pass holders
Most of the 30 non-citizens — 25 of them — entered Singapore before this year.
All the work pass holders approved by MOM had entered the country before border control measures were imposed.
Police investigations into possible criminal activity within the KTV cluster is underway and they said that they will take action against errant KTV clubs and their hostesses.
The police and relevant authorities will also step up enforcement against those who break Covid-19 laws as well as vice activities at all other KTV outlets that have converted to running a food-and-beverage business.
ICA and MOM, too, will take firm action if investigations show that any offence has been committed by the pass holders.
Employers who illegally employ these pass holders, or abet these pass holders in illegal employment, will face a fine of between S$5,000 and S$30,000 or up to 12 months’ jail, or both.
Their work pass privileges may also be suspended, ICA and MOM said.