Singapore

Teacher guilty of making, using counterfeit notes to pay for massage services

He claims he made fake notes as a teaching tool but is convicted after eight-day trial

A secondary school teacher made two counterfeit Singapore $100 notes and used them to pay for the massage services of a Vietnamese woman.

Yesterday, 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 his eight-day trial, Wong said that in late July 2015, he photocopied two $100 notes using his home printer and ordinary A4-size paper.

"It was an experiment to use (them) as a teaching tool, to excite and engage students during my maths class because I believed many of them had not seen a $100 note before," he said.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Asoka Markandu said Wong went to Orchard Towers at around 2am on Aug 3, 2015. Wong met Ms Nguyen Nhu Trang and they negotiated a price for her services.

The Bukit Batok Secondary School teacher showed the counterfeit money to Ms Trang before placing it in her handbag. Wong's lawyer, Ms Melanie Ho, said her client had given Ms Trang the fake currency by mistake.

Ms Ho also said the fake notes were such bad specimens that they were not counterfeit.

But yesterday, Judge Tay said Wong had earlier stated that he had taken out the fake money from a wad of cash in his wallet.

The judge said: "If the notes are indeed devoid of any similarity to genuine $100 notes, there is no convincing explanation as to why the accused would not have realised that out of the wad of notes, he had taken out specifically the $100 notes that were not genuine.

"I've seen the fake $100 notes and I find they are indeed rather similar to genuine $100 notes. They are far from a pronounced failure and a recipient may make an easy mistake."

The guest registration records of a Fragrance Hotel branch in Balestier Road revealed that Wong and Ms Trang checked in at around 2.45am and left about an hour later.

According to Wong, he returned home after dropping Ms Trang off andthen realised he had "mistakenly" given her the fake money.

Ms Trang unwittingly tried to use one of the fake notes at a supermarket and was caught, leading to his arrest.

Wong is out on bail pending his sentencing at a later date.

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