Metro founder's grandson agreed to sell cannabis to woman but 'transaction did not occur'

Ong Jenn arriving at the State Courts on Feb 21, 2017.
Ong Jenn arriving at the State Courts on Feb 21, 2017. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - On the third day of a drug-trafficking trial involving Ong Jenn, the grandson of Metro's founder, the prosecution presented in court on Tuesday (Feb 21) excerpts of text messages.

It was between Ong Jenn and a woman, and it showed he had agreed to sell her cannabis.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Ong Luan Tze read out the messages obtained from Ong Jenn's mobile phone. On Oct 27, 2014, one Tan Pek Leng had contacted Ong Jenn to say a woman known as Gwen Toh wanted to replenish her drug supply as her "guy" was out of town.

The next day, Ms Toh sent him a text message asking for 100g of cannabis in two blocks.

She then asked Ong Jenn, now 41, how much the drugs cost and he replied: "$1,100, just come collect and give cash."

Ong Jenn confirmed he had agreed to sell Ms Toh 100g of cannabis for $1,100 as he took the stand for the first time on Tuesday.

But he said the transaction did not occur.

On Oct 30, that year, he also received a message from a woman known only as Charmaine Harn who wrote: "My guy is out of town and my supply is exhausted.

No point getting a load (because I'm) leaving in a week, wondering if (you) have a $150 I could kop(sic) off you please."

Under cross-examination by DPP Ong Luan Tze, Ong Jenn said he did not know what Ms Harn was asking for.

The grandson of Metro founder Ong Tjoe Kim and the son of its former group managing director Jopie Ong, is on trial for two counts of engaging in a conspiracy with convicted drug offender Mohamad Ismail Abdul Majid, 45, to traffic cannabis.

Six other drug-related charges have been stood down.

Ong Jenn's claim has been that the drug he obtained from Mohamad Ismail was for his own personal consumption. He said this in a statement he gave CNB on Oct 31, 2014. His lawyer, Senior Counsel (SC) Tan Chee Meng from WongPartnership, also said in an earlier hearing his client did not obtain the drug for trafficking.

Mohamad Ismail was sentenced to 22 years in jail and 18 strokes of the cane on Sept 16, 2015, after pleading guilty to three of the seven drug-related charges.

Two of his charges are related to Ong's current case.

If convicted of engaging in a conspiracy to traffic cannabis, Ong Jenn can be jailed for between five and 20 years, and ordered to receive between five and 15 strokes of the cane for each count.

The trial resumes this afternoon.