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2nd senior ICA officer jailed this week
 13 Nov_ST
Title: 2nd senior ICA officer jailed this weekSource: Straits TimesAuthor:
A SENIOR immigration officer was jailed for 1-1/2 years yesterday for accepting bribes to extend the social visit passes (SVPs) of foreign nationals.
Dong Ching Jit, 56, must also pay a penalty of $10,000 - the amount the former Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) SVP unit manager received in two of the four charges he was convicted of last Friday. The amounts in the other charges were not specified.
Dong is appealing against his conviction and sentence. He is also claiming trial to eight other charges that he received about $70,000 in bribes.
In a 10-day trial last month, the court heard from the prosecution's main witness Edmund Hoon Wai Kein, 33, about how Dong helped him extend the SVPs of several Vietnamese women in December 2004. Dong continued to do so until Hoon was arrested in April 2005. The court was not told how the scheme was uncovered.
Hoon said he and his Vietnamese wife would charge Chinese nationals $800 to $1,000 each and Vietnamese $350 to $400 each for a one-month extension. He was unsure how much he paid Dong but said his own share could go up to $100,000 to $150,000 during 'peak periods'. The court was not told when these peak periods were.
Hoon's runner Yap Kok Wee also took the stand, testifying how he and Hoon would arrange to meet Dong at the ICA headquarters near Lavender Street. They would take a queue number and, upon informing a contact within the ICA, their number would appear on the electronic boards shortly after. They would proceed to a specific interview room, where they would hand Dong a bag containing up to 100 passports, each with a completed application form for an SVP extension. They would receive a phone call later that day, informing them that the passports were ready for collection.
Dong said he had processed the SVPs for Hoon only under instruction by a Mark Chew of the Internal Security Department (ISD). He added it was normal for the ICA to receive batches of 100 to 200 passports from agencies like the ISD and the police for extensions of SVPs.
But Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Eugene Lee argued that there was never any Mark Chew. Furthermore, it was incomprehensible that Dong could accept Hoon and Yap as ISD officers even though they had no other identification to show him except for their identity cards, added DPP Lee.
The ISD involvement was something Dong cooked up later, said the prosecution, as he never told Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau officers about it when he was first investigated in 2005.
Dong is out on bail of $140,000. He is to return to court on Nov 26 to make arrangements for his trial for the other eight charges. Both Hoon and Yap have yet to be dealt with.
Dong is the second senior ICA officer to be punished for corruption this week. On Wednesday, chief specialist Chung Cheong Weng, 60, was jailed for eight months for accepting sexual favours from a Chinese national he was supposed to have been investigating and for asking her to delete cellphone SMS evidence.