Bigamist jailed two months for marrying woman in New Zealand

Tan Tee Wee, who wed his long-time girlfriend overseas when he was still married, was sentenced to two months in jail for bigamy on Wednesday. -- ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW
Tan Tee Wee, who wed his long-time girlfriend overseas when he was still married, was sentenced to two months in jail for bigamy on Wednesday. -- ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - A man who wed his long-time girlfriend overseas when he was still married was sentenced to two months in jail for bigamy on Wednesday.

Tan Tee Wee, 48, pleaded guilty to entering into the marriage with Ms Esther Tan Wee Yee, now 39, at the Auckland Marriage Registry in New Zealand, on Feb 25, 2010.

A district court heard that Tan registered his marriage to Madam Goh Geok Tin in Singapore in October 1988. They have three children, aged 12 to 18.

When he married Ms Tan, he stated that he was "never married or in a civil union".

Investigation further showed that he came to know Ms Tan in 2000 through his job as chief executive officer of an events management company. They entered into a relationship the following year.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Elaine Liew said in the course of their relationship, Tan told Ms Tan about his first marriage, and assured her that he intended to file for separation. He produced documents to show Ms Tan that he was filing for divorce.

About 10 years into their relationship, the couple decided to wed. Tan chose to marry Ms Tan in New Zealand as he knew that he could not marry her in Singapore.

He told his intended that they had to tie the knot there because he had unresolved "tax issues" in Singapore that were related to Madam Goh.

One of Ms Tan's friends who turned up in court was heard saying "he even had a girlfriend" when she walked out of the courtroom after the sentencing.

Tan will start his sentence on Jan 7 as his lawyer Louis Joseph told the court his client wishes to spend the holidays with his children.

He could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined for bigamy.