Using spare accounts of local food delivery riders registered with more than one company, up to 50 Malaysians have worked illegally in Singapore while riding their Malaysia-registered motorcycles.
The group of more than 20 Malaysians, which can grow to around 50 on weekends, often operate in the city area to avoid suspicion.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) recently nabbed two of them during several enforcement operations that targeted social visit pass (SVP) holders working illegally as food delivery riders.
Mr Zheng Guo Jing, 34, who tipped off MOM after becoming angry and frustrated at the situation, told The New Paper yesterday that some of these illegal riders are still active, especially in the Orchard area.
Mr Zheng, who works in trading, said he had been aware of such illegal activities for two years.
He said a Malaysian man, who heads the operation, had repeatedly approached local food delivery riders - including his brother - to ask if they had food delivery accounts to spare.
Mr Zheng said the man started by using the accounts himself to make food deliveries, and gave the account owners 5 per cent of his earnings.
He eventually recruited motorcyclists from across the Causeway, and let them use the accounts he had accumulated in exchange for a 30 per cent cut of their takings.
"That means he keeps 25 per cent. That's how he makes money. There is an opportunity for him to earn up to $300 per day," Mr Zheng said.
MOM said yesterday that it conducted enforcement operations at 313@Somerset, Plaza Singapura, Malacca Street, Tanglin Mall, Novena Square, Nex Shopping Centre, and Ang Mo Kio Hub between April 25 and May 7.
The two men arrested by MOM were Malaysian SVP holders, aged 24 and 21, who had illegally used Foodpanda and Deliveroo accounts belonging to Singaporeans.
Investigations against those involved are ongoing. MOM is also investigating the two firms.
All food delivery companies will be required to tighten their processes to prevent the illegal usage of delivery accounts, MOM said.
Mr Felix Ong, director of the employment inspectorate at MOM's Foreign Manpower Management Division, said: "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."
Deliveroo said yesterday that all its delivery riders need to be a citizen or permanent resident.
While using substitutes is a legitimate feature of being self-employed and riders do so for a wide range of reasons, like when they go away, Deliveroo said they are contractually responsible for checking whether their substitutes have the right to work here.
The company said it will be cooperating fully with MOM and will immediately end the contract of any rider found subcontracting to an individual who is not allowed to work here.
Said its spokesman: "Deliveroo has a zero-tolerance approach on this matter and takes this extremely seriously."
A Grab spokesman said the company takes a serious view on app sharing, and will temporarily suspend any riders caught doing so. Repeat offenders may be banned from its platform.
The company will introduce a selfie verification feature for its food delivery riders in the future.
This article was first published in The New Paper. Permission required for reproduction.