Singapore returns passports to 40 Thai students


BANGKOK, June 13 — The Singaporean government on Friday returned passports to some 40 Thai students who were cheated by manpower firms in that country, said Pravit Khiengpol,  director-general of the Thai Labour Ministry’s Employment Department.

The return of confiscated passports came after nearly 30 Thai students lodged a complaint with the Crime Suppression Division in Bangkok that they were lured by recruitment agencies which had displayed advertisements on a website and on Facebook that Thai students could receive training at famous hotels, restaurants and clubhouses in Singapore.

The students were told that they would receive wages and overtime payment.

The company charged from Bt25,000 to Bt29,000 as service fee and for lodging for each student.

After working in Singapore for a while, the Singaporean authorities made random inspections and found that the documents allowing them to be trainees were forged.

Their passports were confiscated by the Singaporean authorities while many were asked to become witnesses by Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower.

Officials of Thailand’s Employment Department said later that about 40 Thai students were still stranded in Singapore.

Mr Pravit told journalists that the Ministry of Manpower in that country decided to seize the students’ passports after finding that their documents were falsified. The Singaporean based manpower firms were also found guilty and the students’ passports were returned to the owners.

Mr Pravit said students who wished to continue their training in Singapore could do so but they have to inform the Thai labour representative in that country first for consideration.