Woman fined for lying about being kidnapped

A woman claimed that she was kidnapped and taken to China against her will to garner attention from her husband, whom she felt had been neglecting her, a court heard.

Veronica Tay Ting Ting, 25, lied to police that three men abducted her and took her to the airport to board a plane on Aug 20, 2015.

She was also accused of misappropriating $1,429 in November of the same year while working as a part-time sales assistant at a Triumph store at One KM Mall in Tanjong Katong Road.

Tay was fined a total of $5,000 yesterday after pleading guilty to the two charges - orally furnishing false information to a public servant and criminal breach of trust.

A third charge of making threatening communication, by sending messages and calls to her husband suggesting that she had been kidnapped and was being held hostage in China, was considered during her sentencing.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Eric Hu said Tay's husband, Mr Thong Meng Fie, 39, lodged a police report on Aug 20, 2015, stating that Tay had not returned to her workplace in New Industrial Road after a smoke break.

Tay had earlier texted him, saying that she was sorry and told him to take care of himself. About half an hour later, he received several voice messages on WeChat from Tay, who claimed that she was being drugged and held captive by an unknown man.

On Aug 29 that year, Tay was at Ang Mo Kio Police Division when she told a police inspector that she was smoking at the New Industrial Road site when a silver car with three men inside stopped near her.

She claimed that one of them pulled her into the car, where her mouth was covered and her mobile phone switched off. They purportedly took her to Changi Airport Terminal 2, where they boarded a flight for Ningbo, China.

Tay said she was held captive for five days before being released. She returned to Singapore on her own on Aug 27 that year.

Extensive police investigations were conducted but closed-circuit television cameras showed that none of her claims was true.

When confronted with the findings, Tay broke down and confessed that she had lied in the earlier statement. She admitted to staging the entire incident to garner attention from her husband, as she felt he had been neglecting her.

In the other case, DPP Hu said Tay failed to deposit the daily sales proceeds to Triumph International's bank account from Nov 8 to 16, 2015, which amounted to $1,429.

Tay left Singapore on Nov 17 that year and was arrested on Oct 12, 2016 at Changi Airport. She admitted that she had misappropriated the money, part of which was given to her husband to pay off his debts.

Tay, who has made full restitution, will serve a default sentence of five weeks' jail, as she could not pay the fines.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 21, 2018, with the headline 'Woman fined for lying about being kidnapped'. Print Edition | Subscribe