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Twelve Cupcakes founders Daniel Ong and Jaime Teo charged with underpaying foreign employees

Each faces 24 counts of contravening rules under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act

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Singapore — The founders of the Twelve Cupcakes bakery chain — Daniel Ong, 45, and his former wife Jaime Teo, 43, — were on Tuesday (Dec 29) charged with underpaying eight of their foreign employees from 2012 to 2016.

Each faced 24 counts of contravening rules under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act, including charges of failing to pay their foreign employees on time, according to a  report on channelnewsasia.com.

Former radio deejay Ong is accused of allowing the company to underpay or fail to pay within a fixed time the salaries of eight foreign employees with the bakery between September 2012 and December 2016.

The eight employees had salaries of between S$2,000 and S$2,600 a month and were underpaid.

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Ong is also accused of allowing Twelve Cupcakes to fail to pay an employee his monthly salary of S$2,000 within a stipulated time-frame on three occasions.

Teo, an actress, faced similar charges.

Ong and Teo, who divorced in 2016 after nine years of marriage, set up Twelve Cupcakes in 2011. They sold it in 2017 to Indian tea company Dhunseri Group for S$2.5 million.

Dhunseri Group’s lawyer earlier told the court that the group underpaid its foreign employees because it was continuing a practice put in place by the founders. The group had, in some instances, paid its employees the correct amounts to their bank accounts but asked them to return some of their pay.

Both Ong and Teo will return to court on Jan 26, after he was granted an adjournment of four weeks.

For each charge of contravening foreign work pass rules, they could be jailed for up to a year, fined up to S$10,000, or both. /TISG

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