Man who damaged car while drink-driving lied to police because he feared his wife would divorce him

Tan Meng Huat told a policeman that his car had been stolen from the open space carpark in front of East Village.
Tan Meng Huat told a policeman that his car had been stolen from the open space carpark in front of East Village. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - A man who was convicted of drink-driving was warned by his wife that she would divorce him if he repeated the offence. So, when he did it again and his car was damaged, he reported to the police that the vehicle had been stolen.

Tan Meng Huat, a 53-year old senior sales executive, was jailed for two weeks after he pleaded guilty to giving the police false information, which made them start an investigation into the supposed theft.

A district court heard that at about 6pm on Oct 22, last year, Tan and a colleague went to Club Lava at East Village, where they drank a bottle of red wine.

At about 12am the next day, both got into Tan's car to go home.

While driving along the Pan Island Expressway later, Tan felt a strong impact at the back of his black Toyota Allion.

He stopped the car and saw that the rear of the vehicle had been damaged. But Tan had not seen any other vehicle behind his car and did not know what had happened.

He began to worry that the police might investigate him for drink-driving, and that his wife might divorce him. A second conviction for drink-driving above the legal limit carries a mandatory prison sentence.

Tan went to park his car at Block 122, McNair Road, and woke up his colleague who had been sleeping.

He told the colleague that someone had hit his vehicle, and that he wanted to make a police report.

The two men then took a taxi to Bedok North Neighbourhood Police Centre.

Tan told a policeman there, at about 1.30am, that his car had been stolen from the open space carpark in front of East Village.

Tan was observed to be reeking of alcohol, and a cashcard was sticking out of his shirt's front pocket.

At about 10.20 pm later that day, the commanding officer of Woodlands East Neighbourhood Police Centre spotted the vehicle at the place where Tan had parked it.

The car's rear windscreen was shattered, and its rear bumper was dented with the right side of the bumper detached.

Footage from a closed-circuit television camera in the area showed that Tan and his colleague had stepped out of the car, and left it after Tan locked its doors.

Three days later, Tan confessed to police that he had made a false report.

For giving false information to a public servant, he could have been jailed for up to a year, and fined up to $5,000.

Tan will start serving his jail term next Tuesday (Jan 12).