SINGAPORE: A 44-year-old teacher has been found guilty of counterfeiting two S$100 notes and using the forged bills to pay a Vietnamese woman for sex.
Daniel Wong Mun Meng, a teacher at Bukit Batok Secondary School, was convicted on Thursday (Oct 5) of two charges after a nine-day trial, during which he admitted to counterfeiting the notes but denied intentionally using them to pay for sex.
On Aug 3, 2015, Wong drove himself to Orchard Towers at about 12.30am, after working late into the night preparing for the next day's classes. Wong met a Vietnamese woman there and offered to pay her S$200 for "services".
The woman followed Wong back to his car, where he took two counterfeit S$100 notes out of his wallet and put the forged bills straight into the woman’s handbag.
Wong then drove her to Fragrance Hotel at Balestier Road, where he admitted she “provided a full body massage … (and) we had sex”.
After dropping off the woman near Kim Yam Road, Wong returned home to Clementi Woods condominium. It was then that he realised he had “mistakenly” paid the woman with counterfeit notes, he claimed.
"INCREDULOUS" DEFENCE: PROSECUTOR
Deputy public prosecutor Asoka Markandu criticised Wong’s “incredulous” defence.
Just hours before the offence, Wong had celebrated his son’s first Holy Communion and wife’s birthday by taking the family out to dinner. He had been “careful” then not to use the counterfeit notes to pay for dinner, the prosecutor pointed out.
After he was picked up by the police at his school on Aug 20, Wong told officers he had produced the fake bills “out of curiosity", “for fun” and to “test whether the other party will know that the notes (were fake)”, Mr Asoka noted.
Wong had produced the counterfeit notes at home on Jul 24 using a photocopier and aluminium foil. He testified it was “pretty simple” to do so.
However, the homemade notes “are far from a pronounced failure, and a recipient may make an easy mistake”, District Judge Terence Tay said. “I have seen the (counterfeit notes) and they are indeed rather similar to genuine (notes),” he added.
The offences came to light when the woman tried to use the fake notes at a supermarket.
At trial, Wong claimed the notes were “an experiment” he wanted to use “as a teaching tool to excite and engage the students” while teaching them about currency exchange, among other teaching-related reasons he gave.
However, the teacher in charge of the school’s mathematics curriculum testified currency exchange was not in the syllabus for Secondary 3 students.
“The accused is portrayed as a dedicated teacher who, motivated by his burning desire to educate his students and to ‘excite and engage’ them, used a home printer to make two copies of a (S$100 note) to show to them.
“Sadly, the lesson plan was derailed and the students never had the opportunity to see the S$100 notes,” Judge Tay said.
Wong has been suspended from duty since December 2015, said the Ministry of Education (MOE) in response to Channel NewsAsia's queries.
“MOE takes a serious view of educator misconduct and will not hesitate to take disciplinary action against those who fail to adhere to our standards of conduct and discipline," said a spokesperson.
Wong will be sentenced at a later date.
For counterfeiting currency notes and trying to pass them off as genuine, Wong could be jailed for up to 20 years and fined.
Read more at http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/teacher-convicted-of-using-counterfeit-banknotes-to-pay-for-sex-9282670