A Chinese mother who was recently arrested for overstaying her long-term visit pass in Singapore by seven years to support her son claimed that it was “worth it.”
Key details: Singapore’s Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) arrested Kang Lihong, 48, at her Singapore address on Aug. 1.
She was reportedly sentenced to six months in jail with a fine of 2,000 Singaporean dollars (approximately $1,486) instead of a caning punishment since she is a woman.
What the law says: Under Section 15 of Singapore’s Immigration Act,
anyone caught in the city-state whose overstay period has not exceeded 90 days may face a jail sentence of up to six months, a fine not exceeding 4,000 Singaporean dollars (approximately $2,970) or both.
Anyone who has overstayed for over 90 days may be subject to a jail sentence of up to six months. They may also face caning with no less than three strokes, and if this punishment is not applicable, they may be fined up to 6,000 Singaporean dollars (approximately $4,463).
About her pass: Kang reportedly received her long-term visit pass, which was supposed to be valid until April 2016, for Singapore in March 2015. After it expired, she was reportedly given a 62-day grace period to leave Singapore, but instead of heading home, she illegally overstayed for seven years, one month and 10 days.
Why she did it: Explaining her side in court via video-link, Kang, who did not have a lawyer, said she only overstayed her welcome in the city-state because her “very young” child was “studying in secondary school” and she was afraid he would not be able to stay in Singapore if she went home.
Kang, who claimed to be her son’s sole provider, also said that her son urged her to go home.
“After my child graduated and started working, my child asked me to go back to China, but then COVID-19 happened so I was not able to fly back,” she declared, adding that she “already had the intention to surrender” before the ICA detained her.
Her son’s age: One of the judges asked Kang how old her son is now. She said he is currently 25 years old, which means he was 18 years old when she started overstaying in Singapore. Kang explained that her son was in secondary school for five years.
After hearing about Kang’s son’s age, a prosecutor reportedly said that she “does not require to remain in Singapore to take care of her child.”
“No choice”: Kang said that while she had “no choice” as a mother, she does not regret her decision to overstay, telling the court, “I admit my mistake but I think it’s worth it.”