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Singapore charges two Chinese workers over "one-dollar bribes"

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SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Singapore has charged two Chinese migrant workers for demanding bribes as small as S$1 (73 U.S. cents), its anti-graft authority said on Tuesday, stressing that the financial hub known for its clean image will not tolerate corruption no matter how small.

Chen Ziliang, 47, and Zhao Yucun, 43, both forklift truck operators, face a fine of up to S$100,000 (£57,370) or prison for up to five years, or both.

Chen was charged with one count of attempting to obtain a S$1 bribe from a truck driver in exchange “for not delaying the collection of a container onto” his truck, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau said in a statement.

He was also charged for obtaining similar bribes from other truck drivers over the course of nearly two years.

Zhao, was charged for obtaining similar bribes over the course of 3-1/2 years.

“Employees are expected to carry out their duties fairly instead of obtaining bribes in exchange for favours,” the bureau said in the statement.

“Even if the bribe amount is as low as $1, they can be taken to task. Bribes of any amount or any kind will not be tolerated,” it said.

The two workers were employed by a container company but the bureau did not say what facility they worked at.

A spokesman for the bureau, which investigates corruption in the public and private sectors, could not confirm the total amount the two men collected in bribes nor how many times they had demanded bribes.

Singapore is the seventh least corrupt country in the world, according to Transparency International, the global anti-corruption coalition based in Berlin.

(Reporting by Fathin Ungku; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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