Singapore Socialite Gets Jail, Fine for Drug Consumption

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The socialite daughter of the founders of luxury watch retailer The Hour Glass was sentenced to 22 months’ jail and S$1,000 (RM3,008.75) fine by the District Court this morning for drug consumption and driving without due care.

  • Pleaded guilty to four counts of consuming and possessing ketamine, driving without due care
  • Five other charges include consumption and possession of drugs 
  • Bail increased from S$50,000 to S$80,000
  • Allegedly suffering from depression due to her “eldest daughter’s rejection”
  • Chose to take drugs to deal with depression
  • Took drugs twice a week, re-offended during bail
Kua Chee Siong/ST

She is fined in default of a one-week imprisonment for the traffic offence.

In August, the 45-year-old pleaded guilty to four counts of consuming and possessing ketamine as well as for driving without due care.

Five other charges, which include consumption and possession of drugs such as methamphetamine and ketamine, were taken into consideration for sentencing.

She is appealing against the sentence and has been granted bail. Her bail amount, however, has been increased from S$50,000 to S$80,000.

Pleading for leniency this morning, defence lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam said that psychiatric reports showed that Tay was suffering from depression due to her “eldest daughter’s rejection” of her.

Her depression affected her judgment and led her to commit the offences, he added.

Thuraisingam said that the psychiatric reports also showed that Tay had used drugs as a form of self-medication.

Calling for at least one year’s jail term for each drug charge, deputy public prosecutor Terence Chua pointed out that Tay had reoffended while out on bail.

She also had other ways to deal with her depression, but chose to take drugs instead.

In total, he sought 26 months’ jail for Tay, alongside a fine and disqualification from driving.

In sentencing Tay, District Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan noted that there is no causal link between her mental illness and the offences committed. He added that her illness also did not affect her ability to make choices.

Saying that Tay was a casual drug user, and that it was not a one-off incident, Shaiffudin pointed out that she had also reoffended.

Tay, who was solemn on hearing her sentence, was accompanied in court by her mother Jannie Chan, 72, who had started The Hour Glass in 1979 with her ex-husband Henry Tay, 73.


Background to the case 

The court was told that on the evening of August 28, 2015, while dining at a Thai restaurant in Orchard Towers, Tay snorted ketamine after she was offered the drug by a transsexual in the female toilet.

The socialite later left Orchard Towers and drove to meet a friend, but ended up mounting her car – a Toyota Vellfire – on a kerb along Newton Road.

It collided into a central divider and hit a traffic light.

She caused the lamp post near the traffic light to fall, blocking the opposite side of the road. The cost of repairing the traffic light and central divider amounted to more than S$3,000.

A police officer who interviewed Tay at the accident site noticed she had slurred speech and was informed by the paramedics that her pupils were dilated.

When questioned, Tay admitted she had earlier consumed ketamine and a glass of wine.

Desmond Foo/ST

She was arrested at about 1.37 am on August 28, 2015, and taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital for a medical examination, where she also submitted urine and blood samples.

An analysis by the Health Sciences Authority found that Tay’s blood sample contained 0.50 micrograms of ketamine per millilitre of blood. Her urine also contained the drug.

For the offences committed on August 28, 2015, Tay was charged with five counts of consuming ketamine and methamphetamine as well as driving without due care, among others.

While she was out on S$30,000 bail, Tay committed another set of drug consumption and possession offences about two years later.

On October 10 last year, Tay showed up for a psychiatric appointment at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) in an intoxicated state, with her urine testing positive for ketamine and benzodiazepines.

She was arrested near IMH by Central Narcotics Bureau officers at about 5.30pm that day.

The officers found that Tay had three packets of ketamine in her possession as well as drug-taking utensils in the form of three stained straws.

Her urine tests also showed traces of norketamine, which is the product of metabolised ketamine.

Norketamine is a banned substance under the law.

During investigations, Tay admitted she had relapsed and started consuming drugs again two months prior to the arrest, and would take drugs twice a week.

She last consumed ketamine a day before the psychiatric appointment, taking the drug in the toilet of a petrol kiosk along Bukit Timah Road when her chauffeur stopped to refuel. – TODAY

Earlier report: Aug 25, Daughter of Hour Glass Founders Faces Drug Charges