Terminal 1, Departure Hall, Singapore Changi Airport. Wikimedia Commons/Mailer diablo
Terminal 1, Departure Hall, Singapore Changi Airport. Wikimedia Commons/Mailer diablo

A 26-year-old Vietnamese woman has been jailed for eight months and four weeks in a Singapore court for entering into a sham marriage with a local citizen so she could get regular access into the country.

The court heard that the woman, with the surname Chau, married a man called Tan in January 2013 but they divorced only 10 months later, raising the suspicions of immigration authorities, Lianhe Wanbao (Singapore) reported.

Chau, then 21, was a businesswoman who owned a fishing farm in Vietnam, while Tan, 22, was serving full-time in national service.

Immigration officials said Chau first arrived in Singapore in August 2012 using a social visits visa, but was refused entry a few months later. She tried again on January 20, 2013, and was granted entry after providing the address of Tan, who was described as her fiancé.

The couple were married five days later, and Chau was able to freely enter and leave the country with no difficulties after that time.

But they filed for divorce in September 2013, on the grounds that the woman had refused sex and intimacy. In November 2014, Tan admitted to officers from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority that the marriage was a sham and revealed he had been paid S$2,300 (US$1,724) for his part in the ruse. He was jailed for six months in a previous court hearing after pleading guilty.

Chau pleaded not guilty, claiming that she had developed true feelings for Tan while exchanging texts. She had accepted his proposal and the marriage had been genuine.

The judge was unconvinced, noting that Chau could not understand English, and had given contradictory details in her testimonies.

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