A Vietnamese woman was jailed for 11 months and fined S$10,000 after being found guilty of setting up a sham marriage in 2017 to prolong a woman’s stay in Singapore.

Nguyen Thi Hong Lan, a spa owner at the time of the prosecution, faced five charges of fixing a marriage of convenience between her 33-year-old compatriot employee and a 29-year-old Singaporean man, the Shin Min Daily News reported.

The woman testified in court that the defendant promised her she would be able to work in Singapore in the long run if she was willing to pay S$20,000 (US$14,792) to the man who was willing to ‘marry’ her, which would make her eligible for the Long-Term Visit Pass and extend her stay in the country.

The bride was allowed to pay S$10,000, while the remaining half was paid by the defendant, on condition the woman worked for her until she paid off the sum.

In order to make their marriage look real, the defendant took photos of the two, who were instructed to pose in bed hugging and pretending to be physically intimate. The couple married on February 9, 2017, after which they seldom saw each other.

By July 2017, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority suspected the marriage was fake and the man’s family claimed he had not been married.

After an investigation, the couple pleaded guilty to entering into a marriage of convenience and each was jailed for seven months.

The former spa owner pleaded not guilty as she said she genuinely believed they were lovers. She will appeal her sentence.