Overstayer tries to leave S'pore by hiding in car backseat

SINGAPORE - A Bangladeshi man was arrested after he tried to smuggle himself out of Singapore early this morning by hiding in the backseat of a car.

Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers at the Woodlands Checkpoint found the 33-year-old - who was dressed in black - crouched on the floorboard when they inspected the Malaysian-registered vehicle.

The car's driver and owner, a 28-year-old Malaysian man, was arrested as well. Preliminary investigations revealed that he was promised $1,500 to bring the Bangladeshi man out of Singapore.

According to ICA, the Bangladeshi man admitted that he came to work in Singapore sometime in May 2002 and had overstayed to seek illegal employment.

Both the driver and the immigration offender are currently under investigation for the offences.

Under the Immigration Act, the penalties for overstaying or illegal entry are a jail term of up to six months plus a minimum of three strokes of the cane, while the penalties for illegal departure is a fine of up to $2,000, a jail term of up to six months, or both.

adrianl@sph.com.sg