SINGAPORE - When two of her bosses got married in New Zealand in 2010, she was among those who celebrated their union after the couple returned to Singapore.
The woman, who requested anonymity, said she attended their wedding here and the dinner at the St Regis Hotel.
Imagine her surprise when she found out later that her then CEO of an events management company, Tan Tee Wee, now 48, was already married to another woman.
The employee, who was a manager in the company, said: "No one would ever be so open and outright about the wedding if he is still married to another woman."
Tan was jailed for two months yesterday after pleading guilty to bigamy.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Elaine Liew said investigations had revealed that Tan had registered his marriage with Madam Goh Geok Tin on Oct 31, 1988. She is a director in his company, according to an Internet search. They have three children, aged between 12 and 18 years old.
In 2000, he got to know one of his colleagues, Ms Esther Tan Wee Yee, now 39, and they became an item the following year.
Tan told her that he was married to Madam Goh and assured her that he intended to file for separation from his wife.
He also produced documents to show her that he was filing for divorce against Madam Goh.
DPP Liew told District Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan that there were no records of divorce proceedings commenced by Tan against Madam Goh.
Tan and Ms Tan decided to get married in New Zealand after about 10 years together.
UNRESOLVED TAX ISSUES
When Ms Tan asked him why they had to tie the knot overseas, he said he had unresolved tax issues in Singapore that were related to Madam Goh.
The pair got married at the Auckland Marriage Registry in New Zealand on Feb 25, 2010.
He lied on his particulars of marriage and marriage certificate by claiming he was "never married or in a civil union".
In an e-mail interview with The New Paper, the former event manager who used to work under Ms Tan, said: "Esther finally broke down after a confrontation with Tan, during which he admitted that he was still married to Madam Goh."
Ms Tan told her about the situation on Oct 19 last year and resigned that day.
The event manager also left the company that month.
She said: "Leaving the company was not for Esther. Leaving the company was based on my own values and integrity."
Stressing that Ms Tan is not just a former boss but a friend, she said Ms Tan had "unconditionally taught" her team many skills.
She's strong, but...
"Friends and family were there for her during this one year. She is a strong woman, but, of course, with some weak moments, too. We will continue to encourage her to move on and forget the past," the friend said.
DPP Liew said Ms Tan made a police report against Tan on Nov 25 last year.
Pleading for a lenient sentence, his lawyer, Mr Louis Joseph, told the judge in mitigation that his client is remorseful and had fully cooperated with the police.
Madam Goh also submitted an appeal letter to the court stating that Tan is "truly remorseful and regretful of his actions and mistakes". She pleaded for Tan to be "given a chance to redeem himself".
Tan will start his sentence on Jan 7 after Mr Joseph said his client wishes to spend the holidays with his children.
Responding to queries from The New Paper, Mr Joseph said that under New Zealand law, his client's marriage to Ms Tan is now void.
For bigamy, Tan could have been jailed up to seven years and fined.
This article was first published on Nov 27, 2014. Get The New Paper for more stories.