SINGAPORE - The founders of popular confectionary chain Twelve Cupcakes, former radio DJ Daniel Ong and former actress Jaime Teo, were charged on Tuesday (29 December) with breaching employment laws.
Ong, 45, was handed 24 counts under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act for contravening foreign employees’ work pass conditions, including underpaying and failing to pay the salaries of the chain’s employees, while he was the director of the cupcake-selling company.
The charges, which are related to some eight employees, are said to have taken place between 2013 and 2016. Ong is said to have failed to pay or underpaid salaries ranging from $2,000 to $2,600.
Ong was seen entering court with his wife, art teacher Fay Tan. He is represented by lawyer Kalaithasan Karuppaya, and will return to court on 26 January.
Teo, who came an hour after her scheduled court timing, was seen accompanied by her lawyer Diana Ngiam. Also the director of Twelve Cupcakes, Teo was handed 24 similar charges to Ong.
Ngiam said she was grateful that the charges had been amended to reflect that Teo was negligent, and that unfortunately the issue had been “left in the hands of others”. She added that Teo is grateful that the prosecution was seeking a fine, and that her client will be pleading guilty.
Teo’s plead guilty mention has been fixed for 26 January.
Founded chain in 2011 with former wife
Ong had founded the Twelve Cupcakes chain in 2011 together with former actress Jaime Teo, 43, while the duo were still married. They were divorced in 2016.
After their divorce, the company was sold to India-based Dhunseri Group in 2017 for $2.5 million. The number of Twelve Cupcakes branches increased from 16 then to 35 today.
However news emerged that the company had been underpaying its employees for about two years.
The firm admitted on 10 December to underpaying seven foreign workers about $114,000.
While the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is seeking a fine of $127,000, the firm has yet to be sentenced. Its case will be heard in court again on 7 January.
If convicted of charges, both Ong and Teo may be jailed up to 12 months and/or fined up to $10,000 on each breach.
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