SINGAPORE - A secondary school teacher was convicted on Thursday (Oct 5) of making two counterfeit Singapore $100 dollar notes and using them to pay for the massage services of a Vietnamese woman.
After an eight-day trial, District Judge Terence Tay found Daniel Wong Mun Meng, now 44, guilty of counterfeiting the money and using the fake notes as genuine currency.
During the trial, Wong admitted that he had created the two fake currency notes. He said: "In late July 2015, I photocopied two $100 notes of the same serial number using my home printer and ordinary A4-sized paper. It was an experiment to use it as a teaching tool, to excite and engage the students during my maths class because I believe many of them have not seen a $100 note before."
When asked why he picked a $100 note, he replied that it depicts various uniformed groups in Singapore schools.
He added: "Since it was SG50, I wanted to infuse national education in my subject."
Deputy Public Prosecutor Asoka Markandu said Wong had the two fake notes in his wallet when he went to Orchard Towers on Aug 3, 2015.
He met Ms Nguyen Nhu Trang and they negotiated a price for her services.
DPP Asoka said the pair were later sitting in Wong's car when Wong held the two fake notes in his hand. The teacher showed the counterfeit money to Ms Trang before placing it directly inside her handbag.
Wong's lawyer, Ms Melanie Ho, said that her client had given Ms Trang the fake currency by mistake and it had been an "accidental use".
The guest registration records of a Fragrance Hotel branch in Balestier Road revealed that Wong and Ms Trang checked in at around 2.45am that day and checked out about an hour later.
Wong had earlier told the court: "She provided a full body massage for me and thereafter, we had sex."
When Ms Trang took the stand, she testified that she only gave him an oil massage.
According to Wong, he returned home after dropping Ms Trang off in Kim Yam Road near River Valley Road that morning.
He told Judge Tay that it was only then that he realised he had "mistakenly" given her the fake money.
He testified that he immediately drove out to Kim Yam Road to look for Ms Trang but was unable to locate or call her.
On Thursday, Judge Tay said that Ms Trang later tried to use the counterfeit money to buy some items at a supermarket and was caught by an alert cashier.
The police were notified and officers arrested Wong at Bukit Batok Secondary School on Aug 20, 2015.
Responding to queries from The Straits Times, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said Wong has been suspended from duty since December 2015.
Its spokesman added: "MOE takes a serious view of educator misconduct and will not hesitate to take disciplinary action against those who fail to adhere to our standards of conduct and discipline."
Wong is out on bail and will be sentenced at a later date.
For making the counterfeit money, he could be jailed for up to 20 years and fined.