SINGAPORE - A woman who put up a $10,000 bond for a friend facing sex offence charges was ordered to pay the entire amount yesterday after he disappeared.
Freelance TV producer Lau Wei Yin, in her 30s, was a close friend of Gerard Fang Tian Huat, 42, who had claimed trial to 13 charges.
The businessman and former dance instructor allegedly had sex with three underage girls and committed indecent acts with a fourth.
The alleged offences occurred at various places, including Amara Hotel, over a year-long period from 2009 to 2010.
The trial commenced last December and continued in a few tranches until April.
The defence had closed its case when Fang successfully applied on April 4 to travel to New York for business, to pick up furniture and other items.
He was supposed to return on April 16 but failed to do so.
A warrant for his arrest was issued by trial judge Hamidah Ibrahim on April 23.
At yesterday's show cause action, Ms Lau's lawyer, Mr Alain Johns - who also defended Fang - said in mitigation that Ms Lau had made numerous efforts to locate Fang.
He said $10,000 was not a "small sum" for Ms Lau - who was a co-executive producer for Asia's Next Top Model - and submitted that only half of that should be forfeited.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Christine Liu argued that the duty of a bailor was an onerous one - all the more so given the number of charges and the serious nature of Fang's offences.
She said most of Ms Lau's efforts were made after Fang disappeared.
She was not even present when Fang applied to leave the jurisdiction as she had given a "blanket" approval for him to travel.
"(It was) only when the accused failed to return on April 16 (that) she panicked and started to ask around," said Ms Liu. "The 15 days of trial spent
is currently without a conclusion."
A police gazette has been issued to arrest Fang, who was last known to be in the United States.
District Judge Hamidah told Ms Lau that she was not even a family member but just a friend who chose to stand bail for the accused.
"You must accept the fact that if he chooses to abscond, the entire amount will be forfeited. I do not see any reason for any remission."