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 ICA officer reprimanded after passenger by-passed airport clearance

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PostSubject: ICA officer reprimanded after passenger by-passed airport clearance   Sat Feb 14, 2009 12:51 am

ICA officer reprimanded after passenger by-passed airport clearance

By Imelda Saad, Channel NewsAsia
Posted: 13 February 2009 2245 hrs

SINGAPORE : An Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officer has been reprimanded for failing to spot an Indonesian woman who by-passed immigration clearance at Changi Airport.

ICA said it takes a serious view of this lack of alertness and will review the incident to see how it can improve processes on the ground.

The comments were in response to media queries arising from an incident involving domestic worker Madam Patina who was returning to Indonesia on home leave.

Madam Patina was a passenger on flight MI 212, departing Singapore on February 12 this year.

ICA said after being cleared through security screening, including X-ray checks of her hand-carry luggage, Madam Patina then lined up behind a group of travellers in the queue for immigration clearance.

But she subsequently decided to leave the queue. She then walked briskly past an immigration counter without first presenting her passport for immigration clearance.

Her employer, Madam Ong Sok Eng, who saw this happening, called Madam Patina on the mobile phone and told her to return to the immigration counter. Madam Patina complied with her employer's instruction.

ICA said although Madam Patina is a bona fide work permit holder and her exit posed no security or immigration risk, her failure to present her passport to the immigration authorities is an offence.

But after interviewing her, ICA officers on the ground gave her the benefit of the doubt. She was given a warning in lieu of prosecution and allowed to continue with her journey and catch her flight.

ICA said Madam Ong's alertness and quick response had averted the inconvenience her maid would invariably encounter when she seeks re-entry into Singapore after completing her home leave.

Apart from the liability to prosecution, she would have faced an offence under the Immigration Act.

The offence under Sec 5(A)(3) of the Act carries a penalty of a fine not exceeding S$1,000 or imprisonment not exceeding six months or both.

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