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Teacher who used fake S$100 notes to pay prostitute sentenced to 3 years' jail

SINGAPORE – A secondary school teacher who used fake S$100 notes to pay a prostitute was sentenced to three years’ jail on Wednesday (Nov 15), but the Bukit Batok Secondary School teacher intends to appeal against his conviction and sentence.

SINGAPORE – A secondary school teacher who used fake S$100 notes to pay a prostitute was sentenced to three years’ jail on Wednesday (Nov 15), but the Bukit Batok Secondary School teacher intends to appeal against his conviction and sentence.

District Judge Terence Tay noted that as a teacher, Daniel Wong Wun Meng was supposed to be a “mature, well-school educator”, but instead of “educating students on the straight and narrow”, he ended up committing a crime.

The 44-year-old physical education and mathematics teacher was convicted on two charges last month after an 11-day trial – printing two counterfeit $100 Singapore currency notes at home and using these notes to pay for massage services at Orchard Towers between July and August 2015.

On Aug 3, 2015, after celebrating his wife’s birthday, Wong went to Orchard Towers to solicit the services of a prostitute. Under the cover of darkness in his car, Wong paid the prostitute with the counterfeit notes by placing them directly in her handbag.

The counterfeit notes were discovered after she tried to use them at a supermarket and the cashier called the police.

Wong was arrested on Aug 20 that year, and has been suspended from duty since December 2015. Following his conviction, the Education Ministry has starting internal disciplinary proceedings against him.

On Wednesday, in arguing the case, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Asoka Markandu said Wong had repeatedly lied. For instance, Wong had said that the notes were meant as a teaching tool for students to learn about currency exchange. But the school’s Head of Department for Maths testified that currency exchange was not in the school’s syllabus for Secondary 3 students, whom Wong taught.

The prosecutor also noted that Wong had gone to Orchard Towers as it was known to have nightclubs and foreign nationals working as prostitutes, adding that they would have been “ideal victims” as they would have little or no knowledge of what a genuine $100 Singapore currency note would look like, especially if they are new to Singapore.

Turning to the production of the fake currency, DPP Markandu said that it was easy to scale up production with readily-accessible technology. However, Wong’s lawyer Melanie Ho argued that he had no intention of ramping up production, noting that when the police raided his condominium, his printer was in a cupboard in the bedroom.

“He wasn’t keeping a stock of counterfeit notes. He did not even have the images saved,” she said. “He’s not in the business of crime.”

She added that he had prepared S$200 to be made as restitution to the prostitute.

Wong is currently out on S$30,000 bail.

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