If there is an example of how not to spend your retirement funds and then insult those whom you seek help from, Chan Kong Thoe’s case would be it.
Mr Chan, 56, had spent all $147,538 of his retirement money in just 5 months, and then went to seek financial help from ComCare, the assistance scheme for the needy run by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF).
When queried about how he had spent such a vast amount of money in such a short period of time, and asked to show documentary proof, Mr Chan turned defensive and evasive.
He made snide remarks about the MSF officer, Ms Elizabeth Aw, calling her a “low-class officer”, and humiliated her and insulted her modesty as well.
The incident took place during a meeting with the officers, including Mr G. Kumaran, in July last year at the Social Service Office in Bukit Batok.
After a two-day trial, where he was charged under the Protection from Harassment Act, the judge found Mr Chan guilty and fined him $3,000.
Mr Chan, a part-time security officer, was a ComCare aid recipient and had applied for an extension in March last year. However, he had failed to disclose that he had turned 55 in October that year and had subsequently withdrawn $147,538 from his CPF.
The failure to disclose this made him ineligible for further ComCare aid.
During his trial, footage from CCTVs of the meeting was submitted as evidence
District Judge Lim Tse Haw, in his judgment which was released on Thursday, said: “There was simply no excuse for (Chan) to behave in the way he did in this case.”
The judge said that “public service workers must be protected from such abuse in the course of their work”.
Under the Protection from Harassment Act, it is an offence to threaten, abuse or insult a public servant or public service worker.
Anyone found guilty of the offence can be fined up to $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both.