Daughter of Hour Glass Founders Faces Drug Charges

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The daughter of the founders of luxury watch retailer The Hour Glass has been charged with involvement in drugs, and the trial is scheduled to start in the State Courts next week.

Problems of mother-and-daughter socialites:

  • Daughter facing up to nine drug charges and if convicted, up to 10 years in jail or $20k fine, or both, on each charge
  • Believed to be high on drugs when she drove into a traffic light pole
  • Diagnosed to have a psychiatric condition
  • Mother sued by ex-husband for sending hundreds of allegedly defamatory and harassing emails to him and various recipients
  • Facing two weeks’ jail for contempt of court, previously fined $30,000

Audrey Tay, 45, a public relations consultant, faces two sets of charges.

Desmond Foo/ST

One involves offences she allegedly committed in August 2015 and they include ketamine and methamphetamine abuse, which emerged after she drove into a traffic light pole and was arrested.

The other clutch of charges refers to four drug-related offences allegedly committed in October last year, including allegedly consuming ketamine.

In all, Tay faces nine charges but the court may proceed with some while taking the rest into consideration.

Five of them were for her suspected offences committed in 2015 on Aug 28, when the car she drove hit a traffic light pole in Newton Road at 1.38am. She lost control of the car and it mounted the kerb.

She was charged in March last year.

One is for driving without due care and attention under Section 65(a) of the Road Traffic Act while two are for possessing nine straws meant for use in consuming drugs as well as two packets of ketamine.

They were found at about 10.30am on the same day in the vicinity of the Tanglin Police Divisional Headquarters Lock-up, according to the charge sheets.

The four charges related to offences last year were slapped on Tay last November, a month after she allegedly committed them.

She will be defended by lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam. A person convicted of abuse or possession of the specified drugs can be fined up to $20,000 or jailed up to 10 years, or both, on each charge.

Tay, a graduate of the London School of Economics and the French Insead business school, is a consultant in public relations, marketing and brand-building, among other things.

Tay and her mother Jannie Chan, 72, are familiar figures in society circles known for their lavish parties and charity work.

Chan, who started The Hour Glass in 1979 with former husband Henry Tay, 73, is mired in unrelated legal woes of her own.

She faces a two-week jail term for contempt of court.

The judge had given her the last chance to avoid prison by suspending the sentence for a year, provided that she stopped defaming and harassing Dr Tay, underwent monthly psychiatric treatment and kept her former husband updated about each session.

Merely a day later, Chan flouted the conditions. Over two days, she posted allegedly defamatory comments on Facebook.

Chan also sent hundreds of allegedly defamatory and harassing e-mails to various recipients.

She even turned up at Dr Tay’s new home, took photos of it and forwarded them to others, said his lawyer, Megan Chia.

Chan also failed to show proof of three psychiatric appointments.

Chia said even though Dr Tay took steps to re-route her e-mails to his junk folder, he continues to suffer defamation and harassment.

The court granted Dr Tay’s application to lift the suspended sentence.

“Her conduct has been unremorseful and unrepentant. In fact, she has been intentionally sending the harassing and defamatory e-mails to new recipients,” noted Justice Hoo Sheau Peng. The judge rejected Chan’s contention that the e-mails were meant to elicit a response from Dr Tay and others about the plight of her daughter, Audrey. The court heard that Audrey was facing criminal charges and diagnosed to have a psychiatric condition.

“Henry can send me e-mails…why can’t I send back?” Chan said.

During her half hour on the stand, Chan complained that she felt harassed by the threat of legal action by her ex-husband’s lawyers. “My life is great except for court cases,” she said.

Several times, she had to be stopped by Hoo and her own lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam when she veered off topic, raising grievances against Dr Tay’s “Korean lady friend”.

“Sorry, I’m very emotional when it comes to this. My children are my life. This woman, in three years, changed everything,” she told the court.

Justice Hoo said she failed to see how Chan’s “willful and irresponsible behaviour” of sending e-mails to other people helped the situation.

Chan was granted a stay on the sentence after her lawyer said she was appealing it.

Chan and Dr Tay ended their 41-year marriage in 2010.

He sued her in 2014 for sending him 1,260 e-mails between November 2013 and September 2014, which he alleged were defamatory or amounted to harassment. Some e-mails were sent to other recipients, including family members, friends, employees, and Cabinet ministers.

The lawsuit was settled and Chan was ordered to stop. However, she persisted in flouting the order.

This is the third time Dr Tay has pursued contempt of court proceedings against her. He dropped the case the first time after she apologised, and she was fined $30,000 the second time. – ST