East Coast Seafood Centre, Singapore. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
East Coast Seafood Centre, Singapore. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A Singapore court on Thursday jailed a 26-year-old woman from Vietnam for six months after she pleaded guilty to entering a marriage of convenience with a 23-year-old Singaporean citizen.

Nguyen Thu Hanh, who had been caught illegally working in Singapore and repatriated in 2013, wanted to re-enter the city-state and obtain a valid work permit, Lianhe Wanbao (Singapore) reported.

She paid S$14,000 (US$10,270) in installments to a friend as the referral fee for a matchmaking service. A Singaporean man surnamed Chen, a salesman by employment, agreed to enter a sham marriage with her.

He was told he would be able to get S$1,000 as a reward and would receive S$500 a month for the next two or three years if the woman managed to stay in the country, the court heard.

On March 21 this year, the duo met up at an airport in Vietnam, flying  to Singapore the same day and entering the country as a couple.

According to Shin Min Daily News, on March 25, four days after their arrival, Chen and Hanh registered their marriage and celebrated it at a seafood restaurant near East Coast Park. As a result, Chen received another reward of S$800.

At least six people attended the wedding banquet, including four Singaporean men and two Vietnamese women who had been involved in arranging the couple’s sham marriage.

However, the couple reportedly went their separate ways after the dinner, meaning they did not live together or enter any intimate relationship.

Chen and Hanh were arrested on May 4.

Hanh pleaded for leniency, saying she wished to return to her home country to care of her elderly mother.

Media reports did not mention the penalty for Chen.