Foreigners increasingly turning to graft

Other News Materials 9 August 2008 05:35 (UTC +04:00)

Foreigners are forming a rising proportion of graft cases in Singapore with many coming from cultures where buying favours is not uncommon, a news report said Saturday. ( dpa )

The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau, Singapore's anti-graft body, plans to inform new arrivals about the city-state's anti- tolerance for corruption.

"Definitely, as Singapore opens up and more foreigners start to come in, some are bound to have bad habits because of the different cultures they are used to," The Straits Times quoted the bureau's deputy director of operations Koh Teck Hin as saying.

The number of people accused of graft declined from 127 in 2006 to 90 last year, but foreigners accounted for 42 per cent of those charged in court in 2007, up from 34.6 per cent in 2006.

Koh cited instances of foreigners claiming they were ignorant of the law after being nabbed for offering bribes to policemen, Koh said.

There are currently 1 million foreigners among the population of 4.6 million, and more are needed to boost the city-state's talent pool.

The bureau plans to produce pamphlets in English, Chinese, Malay and another for Indians by next year on what constitutes corruption and what the laws are in Singapore, the report said. It wants the Manpower Ministry to distribute the information to foreigners applying for work permits, and also with the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, which approves visitor passes to foreigners.

Surveys have consistently classified Singapore as one of the least corrupt countries in the world. A conviction in the city-state can be punished by up to five years in jail and a 100,000-Singapore-dollar (76,000-US-dollar) fine.