Jail, fine for woman who deliberately mutilated $50 notes used to pay her rent

SINGAPORE - Unhappy with her landlady, a woman purposely used a black marker to mutilate the serial numbers of 10 $50 notes before handing the cash over as rent.

The court heard that Chong Wei Ling defaced the Singapore currencies despite knowing that it was an unlawful act.

For doing so, an offender can be fined up to $2,000.

Chong, 37, pleaded guilty to a charge under the Currency Act and was fined $1,200 on Thursday (May 12) for mutilating the $50 notes.

She also admitted to an unrelated offence under the Computer Misuse Act and was sentenced to four months' jail.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) states on its website that under the Currency Act, mutilated notes and coins command no value and no person is entitled to recover from it the value of any mutilated monies.

It added: "MAS may, out of goodwill and at its absolute discretion, award value for a mutilated currency note or coin, provided there is no evidence suggesting that the note or coin has been wilfully or deliberately mutilated."

Deputy Public Prosecutor Gladys Lim said that Chong had rented an Ang Mo Kio flat from a 56-year-old woman.

On Jan 6, 2015, Chong used a black marker to mutilate the $50 notes and handed them over to the landlady.

The older woman alerted the police a week later after noticing that the notes were defaced. Chong has made no restitution to the landlady.

In the other offence, Chong was a tenant of another woman, 69, when she found the latter's wallet in her flat in November 2018.

Chong snapped pictures of the woman's bank card to capture the necessary numbers.

Chong then linked the card to her own account with service provider Grab.

From Dec 1, 2018, to Feb 28, 2019, she made 32 unauthorised transactions amounting to more than $5,300.

The prosecutor said that these transactions were made to top up Chong's Grab account and for online shopping purchases.

The victim lodged a police report on March 6, 2019, after she discovered the unauthorised transactions.

Chong has made no restitution to her, too.

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