Accused of lying in P1 registration for child

Above: Photo illustration of P1 registration exercise

SINGAPORE - A self-employed man found himself in court yesterday for giving false information on where he lived to a school principal and police, in order to get his daughter enrolled in a primary school in the central area.

Henry Wong Yi Hao, 35, is accused of giving information to a public servant employed by the Ministry of Education that he knew to be false, on July 30 last year.

He did this so that the principal would enrol his daughter in the school under Phase 2C of the 2013 Primary 1 registration exercise.

Phase 2C is the last phase of Primary 1 registration for Singaporean children.

He was also charged with giving false information to a police sergeant at the Kampong Java Neighbourhood Police Centre 10 days earlier, in order to have the policeman change the address on his identity card.

Wong, who was unrepresented, indicated that he intends to plead guilty.

If he does so, the prosecution would proceed on the first charge and take the second one into consideration, Deputy Public Prosecutor Lin Yinbing said yesterday.

She successfully asked for a three-week adjournment to prepare the papers.

Wong will return to court on June 18.

Responding to queries by The Straits Times, a spokesman for the ministry said it takes a serious view of such alleged cases and any parent found to have provided false information during the Primary 1 registration exercise would be referred to the police for investigation.

"A child who is successfully registered in a school based on false information given will be transferred to another school with available vacancies after all eligible children have been registered,'' she said.

In yesterday's case, the ministry will decide on the course of action for the child pending the outcome of the case, as she is now in the primary school her father allegedly lied to get her into.

In 2007, a lawyer, then 40, was jailed for two months for lying about his residential address in order to secure his daughter a place at a reputable school in Bukit Timah. He was also given nine months for forgery, and the total sentence he served was 11 months.

The maximum penalty for giving false information to a public servant is one year's jail and a $5,000 fine.

This article by The Straits Times was published in MyPaper, a free, bilingual newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings.

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