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Singapore

Married man gets jail for marrying a second woman in Mauritius

SINGAPORE: A married man proposed to his lover, showing her his divorce certificate with his first wife, but withholding the existence of his second wife.

The couple got married in Mauritius in 2011 and the Singaporean man carried on his unions to his second and third wives for seven years, by pretending he had to do offshore work frequently.

In 2018, his second wife found his marriage certificate to his third wife in his bag and eventually filed a police report.

Yeo Sick Kong, 55, was given 24 weeks' jail on Friday (Oct 1). He pleaded guilty to one charge of bigamy by contracting a marriage while he was already lawfully married.

The court heard that Yeo married his second wife, Madam Tan, in 2005. They have a 15-year-old daughter together.

In 2006, Yeo befriended Malaysian national Madam Ooi at work and they later began a sexual relationship. He told her he was divorced, showing her his divorce certificate with his first wife, a Madam Quah.

He did not tell Mdm Ooi about Mdm Tan, who is now 44, and did not tell Mdm Tan he was having an affair.

In 2011, he proposed to Mdm Ooi and she agreed to marry him. They went to Mauritius, an island nation, and got hitched on Sep 23, 2011. They have no children together.

Between 2011 and 2018, Yeo shuttled between Mdm Ooi's and Mdm Tan's homes. When they questioned him, he claimed he had an offshore project that required him to be physically present, said the prosecutor.

Second wife finds his marriage certificate

In October 2018, Mdm Tan found a Mauritius marriage certificate in Yeo's bag, listing his name and Mdm Ooi's name.

She did not lodge a report immediately, as she wanted to give her marriage a chance at reconciliation, the court heard.

Yeo filed for divorce in December 2018, and Mdm Tan eventually lodged a police report in May 2020. 

An interim judgment for her divorce from Yeo has been granted, but proceedings are still ongoing pending the final judgment.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tay Jingxi asked for six months' imprisonment, highlighting that the offence carries a mandatory jail term.

She noted that Yeo carried on a bigamous marriage for seven years until Mdm Tan fortuitously discovered the offence. This is significantly longer than the one year and one-and-a-half years in precedent cases she cited.

Ms Tay added that there was an element of deception "actively practised" on both Mdm Tan and Mdm Ooi, who is now 47.

In mitigation, Yeo, who was unrepresented, said he was born prematurely and underwent a stent operation in 2017 and 2019.

"This is the reason why I need to bring my medication along when I serve my jail sentence. Your honour, I hope you take this into consideration and impose a light sentence," he said through an interpreter.

The judge allowed him to begin his jail term in a week's time so he can settle personal matters.

For marrying while his wife was still living, Yeo could have been jailed for up to seven years and fined.

Source: CNA/ll(gr)

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