In an attempt to evade lending a substantial sum of money to a co-worker, Joyce Tan Hwee Leng, 35, resorted to concocting a false robbery story. This elaborate ruse ultimately led to her being fined S$2,000 after she pleaded guilty to providing false information to the police.
According to a report, the 35-year-old employed as a server at a local restaurant, found herself in a tricky situation on March 14. Her restaurant’s executive chef requested a loan of S$6,700, a substantial amount she was reluctant to part with. However, in a bid to maintain a positive working relationship, Tan reluctantly agreed to lend the money.
Two days later, on the evening of March 16, Tan arranged to meet the chef near her residence to hand over the money. However, at the last moment, the chef opted to collect the funds at the restaurant the following day.
Seizing this window of opportunity, Tan left her home without the money, eventually deciding to fabricate a robbery story to avoid the financial transaction. She contacted the police, falsely claiming that she had been robbed by two men, one of whom was supposedly armed with a penknife, according to the report.
Senior Staff Sergeant Yap Yhee Hoe responded to the call, arriving at the location Tan claimed the incident occurred near her home in Yishun. It was only after Tan had calmed down from her initial distress that Sergeant Yap was able to interview her.
According to her statement to Sergeant Yap, Tan asserted that she had departed her home with the S$6,700 meant for the chef. At a designated smoking spot near her residence, she claimed to have been accosted by two men of Malay or Indian descent, aged around 20 to 30, who were not carrying bags and were wearing blue face masks.
In her fabricated account, Tan said that the men requested cigarettes, and when she indicated that she didn’t have enough, one of them brandished a penknife, demanding money. She alleged to have surrendered her wallet, but the assailants took her bag, containing the S$6,700, before departing in the direction of her housing block.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Kathy Chu revealed that Tan’s false narrative prompted the deployment of police resources, including the review of security camera footage in the vicinity and searches conducted across Yishun North and Yishun South. These efforts extended until about 1.35 am.
Under further questioning, Tan eventually broke down and admitted that she had provided false information to the police. DPP Chu disclosed that Tan had taken this drastic step to avoid lending money to the chef and needed an excuse to relay to him.
During the sentencing, District Judge Paul Chan imposed a S$2,000 fine on Tan, emphasizing that the harm caused was relatively low. However, he also noted that public resources had been squandered due to her actions.
For the offense of providing false information to the police, Tan could have faced imprisonment of up to six months or a fine of up to S$5,000, or both.
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