SINGAPORE: A 44-year-old teacher was sentenced to three years in jail on Wednesday (Nov 15) for counterfeiting notes and using the fake money to pay for sexual services.
Daniel Wong Mun Men, a Bukit Batok Secondary School teacher, was convicted of two charges on Oct 5 after he forged two S$100 notes with a printer at home and then used the bills to pay a Vietnamese masseuse for sex.
On Jul 24, 2015, Wong – who has been suspended from his job since December 2015 – photocopied two copies of a genuine S$100 currency note and pasted aluminium foils on both notes to replicate the kinegram found on their genuine counterparts.
During his 11-day trial, Wong claimed he created these notes as a teaching tool to motivate his students and to teach currency exchange.
However, the teacher-in-charge of the school’s mathematics curriculum testified that currency exchange was not in the syllabus.
Wong then carried the counterfeit notes in his wallet for 11 days, before using them on Aug 3 to pay Ms Nguyen Nhu Trang for massage services.
Wong had met her at Orchard Towers at about 2am that morning. While seated in his car, Wong had taken the counterfeit money out from his wallet and placed them into Ms Trang’s handbag.
They checked into Fragance Hotel in Balestier Road at 2.47am and checked out about an hour later, according to the hotel’s guest registration records. Ms Trang had “provided a full body massage … (and) we had sex”, Wong had earlier admitted.
The teacher later dropped her off and returned home, upon which Wong claimed that he realised he had “mistakenly” given her the counterfeit notes.
Wong was arrested at Bukit Batok Secondary School on Aug 20, after the offences came to light when the woman unwittingly tried to use the fake notes at a supermarket.
In asking for a sentence of three-and-half years, Deputy Public Prosecutor Asoka Markandu stressed that a “strong deterrent message” was necessary to educate and dissuade members of public from committing similar offences.
He also noted that the accused showed a lack of remorse for his conduct and “had tailored his evidence to suit the defence”.
When Wong was arrested on Aug 20, he 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)”.
For counterfeiting money and using them as genuine currency, Wong could be jailed up to 20 years, and fined.
Defence lawyer Melanie Ho had argued that the father of three young children was not in the business of crime, and therefore, was not forging to cheat “thousands of dollars”.
Wong did not have a stock of counterfeit notes and a sentence “in months” would have served as sufficient deterrence, she added.
In making his sentence, Judge Terence Tay said that it was clear that Wong had a passion for teaching and that his career following the crime had been “greatly jeopardised”.
Wong’s bail is currently set at S$30,000. He plans to appeal his conviction and sentence.
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