A 44-year-old secondary school teacher was convicted on Thursday of making two counterfeit Singapore $100 dollar notes and using them to pay for the massage services of a Vietnamese woman.
District Judge Terence Tay found Daniel Wong Mun Meng guilty of counterfeiting the money and using the fake notes as genuine currency. The decision came after an eight-day long trial.
The Straits Times reported that Wong has admitted his crime of creating the two fake currency notes, during his trial period. "In late July 2015, I photocopied two $100 notes of the same serial number using my home printer and ordinary A4-sized paper. It was an experiment to use it as a teaching tool, to excite and engage the students during my maths class because I believe many of them have not seen a $100 note before," he said.
When Wong was asked about his reason of selecting a $100 note, he said that it depicts various uniformed groups in Singapore schools. "Since it was SG50, I wanted to infuse national education in my subject," he added.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Asoka Markandu said that when Wong went to Orchard Towers on Aug 3, 2015, he had two fake notes in his wallet. He met Nguyen Nhu Trang there and negotiated a price for her services.
DPP Asoka told The Straits Times that the due were later sitting in Wong's car when Wong held the two fake notes in his hand. According to reports, the man showed the counterfeit money to Trang before placing it directly inside her handbag.
However, Melanie Ho, Wong's lawyer, said that her client had mistakenly given Trangthe fake currency and it had been an "accidental use".
The guest registration records of a Fragrance Hotel branch in Balestier Road has revealed that Wong had checked in at around 2.45 am that day along with Trang. They checked out about an hour later.
"She provided a full body massage for me and thereafter, we had sex," Wong had earlier told the court. But, Trang testified that she only gave him an oil massage.
Wong said that he returned home that morning after dropping Trang off in Kim Yam Road near River Valley Road. He claimed that he realised he had "mistakenly" given her the fake money, only when he was back home.
He testified that he immediately drove out to Kim Yam Road to look for Trang but was unable to locate or call her.
On Thursday, Judge Tay said that Trang later tried to use the counterfeit money to buy some items at a supermarket and was caught by an alert cashier. On Aug 20, 2015, the police were notified and officers arrested Wong at Bukit Batok Secondary School.
The Ministry of Education (MOE) said that Wong has been suspended from duty since December 2015. "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," the ministry spokesman told The Straits Times.
Reports said that Wong is out on bail and will be sentenced at a later date. He could be jailed for up to 20 years and fined for making the counterfeit money.