Taxi driver hid crime of bigamy for 25 years

2nd marriage to Pahang woman uncovered when daughters applied for student passes

A taxi driver who had a wife and a daughter in Singapore met a woman in Malaysia - then went on to marry her too and have three children with her.

Tan Thoo Huat's double life remained hidden from the authorities for 25 years until it was uncovered by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority last year when it processed the student pass applications of Tan's two daughters in Malaysia, only to find that he had a subsisting marriage with Singaporean Neo Ah Gek.

Tan, 60, was jailed one month for bigamy yesterday after admitting marrying the Malaysian woman, now 48, on Dec 29, 1990, while married to Madam Neo.

Tan and Madam Neo, then 21, tied the knot at the Registry of Marriages on June 30, 1977. Their daughter was born in 1982.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Soo Tet said Tan met the Malaysian woman through a mutual friend in 1988. She became pregnant two years later.

Following pressure from her parents, they decided to get married in Kuantan, Pahang. Their son was born in November that year.

During their relationship, the Malaysian woman repeatedly asked Tan if he had divorced his wife, but he told her he had no money to divorce his wife as he had been declared bankrupt.

She only found out that he was married with a daughter in 1991.

When confronted, Tan said he would divorce his wife in Singapore. She then maintained her relationship with Tan, and they had two more children - in 1992 and 1997.

Tan visited his other family in Malaysia once or twice a year and did not support them financially.

During their relationship, the Malaysian woman repeatedly asked Tan if he had divorced his wife, but he told her he had no money to divorce his wife as he had been declared bankrupt. Sometime in 2004, the Malaysian woman ended her relationship with Tan, who also stopped visiting her.

Madam Neo found out about her husband's second marriage in May last year during police investigations, said DPP Tan.

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

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 23, 2016, with the headline 'Taxi driver hid crime of bigamy for 25 years'. Print Edition | Subscribe