Couple fined for lying about home address to get child enrolled in prestigious primary school

A sign directing parents to the primary one registration phase 2C at a school on Aug 6, 2013.
A sign directing parents to the primary one registration phase 2C at a school on Aug 6, 2013.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A couple gave a false address to enrol their child in a prestigious school during Phase 2C of the 2015 Primary 1 registration exercise.

On Monday (Jan 29), the child's mother, 36, was given the maximum fine of $5,000 for giving false information to a public servant. Meanwhile, her 39-year-old husband was fined $4,000 for giving a false contact address to a registration officer at Serangoon Gardens Neighbourhood Police Post.

The couple cannot be named to protect the identity of their child.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Shahla Iqbal said that on May 1, 2014, the couple lied to a registration officer at Serangoon Gardens NPP that their residential address was in Bishan when they were still living in Serangoon Gardens.

The officer, a police sergeant, then proceeded to change their address to one in Bishan.

Investigations showed that on July 30, 2015, during the 2015 Phase 2C Primary 1 registration exercise, the couple provided a copy of their identity cards with the false contact address to register their child in the school.

The Bishan address was within 1 km of the school, which gave the child priority for admission under Phase 2C, which is for children with no links to the school.

The child managed to secure a place in the school and is still studying there, pending the outcome of the case.

DPP Iqbal urged the court to impose the maximum fine on the woman for falsely stating that she lived in Bishan and to fine her husband $4,000.

"There was pre-meditation and planning. The offence is one that is difficult to detect," she said.

She said the man had changed his home address to "give an advantage to his child over that of another child".

The sentencing positions in such cases have evolved. In August 2015, a 35-year-old man was given a $5,000 fine after he appealed against his two-week jail sentence for lying to a school principal about where he lived to get his daughter admitted to a prestigious primary school.

 

The prosecution, which had earlier sought a jail sentence for the man, did not oppose his appeal for a fine.

This came after prosecutors learnt of four similar cases between 1995 and 2004 in which the lying parents were given the maximum fine, which was $1,000 before it was raised in 2008 to $5,000.

In the latest case, the mother could have been jailed for up to one year and/or fined up to $5,000 while the maximum punishment for her husband's offence under the National Registration Act is a $5,000 fine and five years' jail.