Dorm operator fined $300k for housing 5,042 foreign workers in overcrowded condition

SINGAPORE - A dormitory operator has been fined $300,000 for housing foreign workers in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on Wednesday (June 1).

Dormitory operator KT Mesdorm which runs the Blue Stars Dormitory at Kian Teck Lane in Pioneer is the first dormitory operator prosecuted and convicted in Court. The operator pleaded guilty to all 30 charges brought against the company.

The dormitory was permitted to house up to 4,500 workers, but a joint inspection by MOM and the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) on July 30 2015 found that there were in fact, 5,098 bed spaces and 5,042 foreign workers residing there.

"By intentionally taking in more residents than permitted, KT Mesdorm had caused the infrastructure and amenities in the dormitory to be over-taxed, resulting in overcrowded, unsanitary and unhygienic living conditions," MOM said in a statement.

"The health and well-being of the workers residing in the dormitory were severely compromised," it added.

According to the Ministry, the companies whose workers lived in the dormitory were not aware that the dormitory had exceeded its approved occupancy limit.

Following the inspections, KT Mesdorm has rectified the overcrowding issue and improved the living conditions in the dormitory, MOM added.

Under the law, dormitory operators who provide unapproved accommodation and aid employers to breach regulations face a fine of up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 12 months for each offence.