PUB lawyers: Woman's active Carousell account disproves her claim of fearing strangers after manhole fall

Madam Chan Hui Peng had met up with numerous buyers who left her positive reviews, despite her claims. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE - The woman who is suing PUB for $5 million after she fell into a manhole five years ago was confronted in court on Wednesday (Nov 25) with her highly rated Carousell account, which has garnered 194 reviews over the past three years and seven months.

Her account on the online shopping platform listed a variety of items, including essential oils, potted plants, a Scrabble set, a mattress, a pink bikini and even a Punggol flat for rent.

Lawyers for PUB's insurers pointed out that Madam Chan Hui Peng, 47, had met numerous buyers who left her positive reviews, despite her claims that the accident caused her to become wary of strangers and hesitant about going out to meet new people.

Madam Chan, who fell into a 1.8m-deep manhole in Simon Road, near Kovan, on Dec 1, 2015, has alleged that the accident caused her to suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and schizophrenia, in addition to a fractured ankle.

On Wednesday, the third day of trial, Ms Grace Tan, one of the defendant's lawyers from WhiteFern, showed Madam Chan her documented accounts, to psychiatrists and psychologists, about her fear of meeting strangers.

Ms Tan then showed screenshots of a Carousell account, which Madam Chan confirmed was hers. Madam Chan added: "But it's not always myself operating it."

The lawyer noted that the account was started in April 2017, around the time Madam Chan started seeing a psychiatrist who diagnosed her with PTSD.

Ms Tan said: "You have no issues meeting with strangers to sell things, but you are telling your psychologist and your psychiatrist that you are wary about meeting new people."

Madam Chan replied: "My psychiatrists and psychologists all encourage me to have a normal life, to go and meet people, be friendly, punctual and pleasant."

Mr K. Anparasan, the lead counsel for the defendant, then confronted Madam Chan over her "lies", after he highlighted how she had been untruthful about her employment.

In her lawsuit, Madam Chan claims that at the time of the accident, she was drawing a salary of $11,500 for a business development job that she held for a month before the accident.

The defendant disputes this because Madam Chan is using the salary as a basis to claim pre-trial loss of earnings of more than $1 million.

The defendant contends that this was not a genuine job as the company was in reality controlled by Madam Chan; her 79-year-old mother-in-law is a former director, while her husband is a proxy for the shareholder.

On Tuesday, when Madam Chan was asked about her relationship to the current shareholder, Mr Tan Yew Tiak, she said she did not know who he was.

On Wednesday, after the defendant's lawyers finally found Mr Tan, she admitted that he was her maternal uncle.

Mr Anparasan said: "Madam Chan, it has got to stop, today. Will it stop? Answer my question, will your lies stop today?

Madam Chan replied: "I'm not lying but, sure."

The manhole Madam Chan Hui Peng fell into. PHOTO: ST FILE

Mr Anparasan then said: "We have gone through three days of cross-examination. You have shown so many things for us to show that you are putting on a farce."

He said he was giving her "one last chance" to discuss with her lawyers on whether she wanted to withdraw her "dishonest" claim.

"I just want you to consider this very carefully because there are so many damning evidence against you."

Madam Chan then accused Mr Anparasan of making things difficult for her over "one month of salary".

She said her last-drawn pay at e-commerce platform Lazada, where she worked for two months in early 2015, was $11,500. She also had a job offer for $12,000 in April 2016.

"My market rate is there," she said, adding that she had glowing testimonials during her 20-year employment history.

Pressed on whether she would be discussing with her lawyers about continuing her claim, she said: "I will take their advice."

The trial continues on Thursday.

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