SINGAPORE — In a bid to avoid lending a co-worker S$6,700, a woman lied to the police that she was robbed of the same amount by two men, one of whom was supposedly armed with a penknife.
For her actions, Joyce Tan Hwee Leng, 35, was fined S$2,000 on Thursday (Sept 28) after pleading guilty to providing false information to the police.
The court heard that Tan worked as a server at a restaurant. On March 14, the restaurant’s executive chef asked to borrow S$6,700 from her.
Tan did not want to lend him the money, but she ultimately agreed as she wanted to maintain a good working relationship with him.
Two days later, on the evening of March 16, Tan called the chef and asked to meet him near her house to pass him the money.
He agreed but later called to say that he would collect the money from her the next day at the restaurant.
Tan left the house for a smoke without the money.
She then decided to call the police and lie that she had been robbed by two men.
Senior Staff Sergeant Yap Yhee Hoe responded to the call and arrived at the bus stop near Tan’s home in Yishun — where she claimed the incident occurred.
Sergeant Yap was only able to interview Tan after she calmed down from crying and shivering, said Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Kathy Chu.
THE FALSE ACCOUNT
According to the statement taken by Sergeant Yap, Tan said that she had left home with S$6,700 in her bag which was meant for the chef.
While at the designated smoking point near her home, Tan claimed that she was approached by two men who were around 20 to 30 years old and of Malay or Indian descent.
She gave a description of what they were wearing and added that both men were not carrying any bags and were wearing blue face masks.
Tan went on to say that the men then asked her for cigarettes and when she told them she did not have enough, one of them took out a penknife and told her to give them money.
She claimed that she gave them her wallet but they took her bag instead, along with the S$6,700 that was inside, before walking towards the direction of her housing block.
DPP Chu said that as a result of her false account, police resources were deployed to review security camera footage from housing blocks around the area, and to conduct a search across Yishun North and Yishun South.
Police resources were deployed until about 1.35am.
When questioned further, Tan eventually broke down and admitted that she had given false information to the police, DPP Chu said.
The prosecutor added that Tan had done so because she did not want to lend the chef money and wanted to come up with an excuse to tell him.
DPP Chu sought a fine of between S$1,000 and S$2,000, noting that there was no elaborate scheme and that Tan had admitted to the police that she lied about three hours after the initial report.
In delivering Tan’s sentence of a S$2,000 fine, District Judge Paul Chan said that a fine would be appropriate as the harm caused was low.
However, the judge added that it must be recognised that public resources had been wasted.
For providing false information to the police, Tan could have been jailed for up to six months or fined up to S$5,000, or both.