It's a trap

The New Paper

You have a wife.

You also have a mistress.

And then comes a sweet, elegant and intelligent woman taking an interest in you as well. Even better, she seems to know what you like.

A perfect woman. You fall head over heels for her.

You forget that you already have a wife and a mistress. This perfect woman is your world now.

So enamoured are you by this new lover that your mistress soon leaves you, now that your attention is occupied elsewhere.

Then, for no reason, things start falling apart as this new perfect woman breaks up with you and leaves you twisting in the wind.

But through it all, your wife has stood by you.

So, you return to her, realising what "true" love is.

Here's the twist: this perfect woman is a clandestine agent hired by your wife.

She had been coached to seduce you, using information about you that only your wife knows.

Sounds like a TV drama? No, it happens here.

To save their marriages from extramarital affairs, Singaporeans have been paying five-figure sums to hire these agents.

The objective: To destroy the extramarital affair.

Yes, agents have been engaged by distraught husbands, too.

This scheme is known as honey trapping, say five private investigators (PIs) The New Paper on Sunday spoke to.

"It is not an advertised service. The request must come from the client," says Mr David Ng from DP Quest Private Investigation Consultancy.

"They usually know what they want. They would request a particular profile of a honey trapper that they want, specific to the preference of their cheating spouses."

Depending on the nature of the relationships, some clients prefer to have the honey trapper seduce the third party instead, says Mr Ng.

For both honey-trapping methods, the spouse would never know that the honey trapper is a hired agent.

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TNPS understands that many honey trappers are sourced from foreign countries such as China, Bangladesh and East Europe.

Those with prior training in intelligence gathering are particularly prized, says a private investigator who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

"Honey trappers are not just used for destroying extramarital affairs, they are also employed for corporate espionage purposes," he says.

But these honey trappers are on tourist visas and are not supposed to be working. So when asked, the PI firms denied ever engaging one but said they were familiar with the practice.

Says Mr James Loh from International Investigators, who gets one honey-trapping request every three months: "Apparently, clients learn about these methods from their friends or from movies and television shows."

But be warned if you are thinking of hiring honey trappers.

Not only are they expensive, but they are also not guaranteed to work.

Clients are charged around $5,000 per month for as long as the mission takes.

SUCCESS RATE

"The success rate is probably about 50 per cent. And if they still want to pursue the option, they must know that it could take many months and the fees will keep on adding up until the mission is complete," says Mr Loh, adding that such jobs normally cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Mr Ng says that in many cases, the infidelity resumes after the honey trapper completes his or her mission.

"There is also the possibility that the honey trapper may fall for the target. Whatever happens after the operation, I wouldn't know."

Not all PI firms we spoke to are willing to provide this service, even though they still receive such requests from well-heeled Singaporeans.

Mr Gilbert de Silva of SecureGuard says this could be illegal as these foreign agents might not be licensed to work for a PI or in a PI operation, and could also flout work permit laws.

He rejects clients when they ask for honey trappers and tells them he would offer them surveillance services instead.

Mr de Silva says: "Many of these cases involve complicated disputes between husband and wife, and the matter can get out of hand if the ploy is uncovered.

"It's not wise to risk the company's reputation on this."

ngjunsen@sph.com.sg

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This article was first published on October 18, 2015.
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