The end of a relationship is never a pleasant occurrence. For some, the sting of rejection is felt so keenly that vengeance seems an attractive option. When Tay Ling Choon’s now ex-lover ended their three-month long relationship, he was devastated. However, instead of respecting her wishes and focusing on moving on with his life, he focused on getting even. Tay harassed his ex, taking things as far as posting photos of her online, along with her contact details and payment methods, falsely advertising her for sexual services.
On Monday, January 14, Tay pleaded guilty to a charge under the Protection from Harassment Act and to a charge of stealing, in an unrelated incident last year.
During a break in court for his sentencing, Tay had a seizure, putting a stop to the proceedings. Court will resume on January 28, and in the meantime, he remains out on bail at S$10,000.
Unemployed 47-year-old Tay met his ex-lover, whose identity cannot be revealed due to a gag order, at a parenting workshop in November 2015. Both divorced, they started seeing each other and engaging in a sexual relationship.
Only three months later, in January 2016, the woman ended their relationship.
Tay did not take the rejection well and began to harass his ex, sending her insulting and threatening text messages.
He tried to blackmail her by claiming to be suicidal, saying that he would take his own life “to end his pain”. Engaging in deception, Tay even posed as his mother, messaging the woman to say that he had committed suicide.
When she wouldn’t rise to any of his threats and manipulations, he threatened her more, saying he would post photos and videos of them having sex on social media sites such as Facebook, citizen journalism website Stomp and chat application Line. He also warned her that he would forward the same sexual content to her ex-husband.
Tay continued to harass her with abusive language through his messages, even referring to her as a “filthy woman” and a “prostitute wife”.
The woman filed a magistrate’s complaint in March 2016, hoping that this would stop Tay’s harassment, which was getting more and more severe.
Undeterred, Tay continued on his harassment-themed rampage. On April 3, 2016, Tay posted a false advertisement on Facebook, offering different sexual services using his ex’s photo and contact information. He even posted different methods of payment that clients could use to avail of her services.
He posted a similar advertisement on online classified ads site Locanto, this time labelling “her a 23-year-old fresh graduate”.
But Tay’s harassment and manipulations went beyond online smearing. Tay got personal down to the family level. He called his son’s secondary school to falsely report that his ex-lover’s son allegedly threatened to beat up his son. The teachers of the school were on high alert and engaged in what turned out to be a falsehood-driven wild goose chase on April 13, 2016.
On April 20, the woman met with Tay face-to-face at the Community Mediation Centre, following her complaint to the magistrate, where they signed a settlement agreement to immediately cease all communication between them, with agreements not to post content of any sort relating to or about the other party on any social media platform or media site.
But a half hour later, in what Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Lim Shin Hui described as “almost making a mockery” of the mediation process, Tay contacted the victim through a call.
Things got even worse when Tay’s false ads started to work. The woman received messages from different men who were interested in the sexual services “she” advertised.
On May 16, 2016, unable to take anymore, the woman filed a police report. She filed a second report on July 1, after men contacted her this time regarding the Locanto ad.
It did not stop there. On August 20, she got a message on Facebook from a man who said that he got her number from Tay’s Facebook account, where she discovered that Tay had posted a rant about her “promiscuity”, still falsely claiming that she was a sex worker.
On September 6, 2016, she filed a third police report, which eventually led to court.
District Judge Mathew Joseph said that there was no “justification” of Tay’s six-month long harassment of the woman, calling it “quite horrendous”, with his actions being a “conscious, deliberate choice”.
After his seizure during sentencing, Tay will be returning to court on January 28. Though his lawyer appealed for a lighter sentence, he is facing jail time for up to one year and a fine of up to S$5,000 if he is convicted of unlawfully stalking his ex-lover. For committing theft, he may be jailed up to seven years and fined.