From ‘Plastic surgeon Woffles Wu fined $1K for lying to the police’, 13 June 2012, article in asiaone.com
Renowned plastic surgeon Woffles Wu Tze Liang was fined $1,000 after pleading guilty in a district court today for conspiring with an elderly employee to provide incorrect information to the police. Wu got Mr Kuan Yit Wah to lie on two occasions to the police that he was the driver behind Wu’s car when it was caught speeding in Nov 2006 and Sept 2005, reported The Straits Times.
…Senior Counsel Harry Elias asked the judge for leniency, stating that Wu had made numerous contributions to Singapore and the aesthetic surgery sector. Wu operates an aesthetic surgery and laser centre at Camden Medical Centre in Orchard Boulevard, and is often quoted in newspapers on issues relating to plastic surgery.
For ‘perverting the course of justice’, Dr Woffles has to pay a paltry sum which costs almost a tenth of what he earns from a chin implant, or a 50th of a liposuction procedure. Just a single NIPPLE surgery can pay off this fine easily (Woffles doesn’t like ‘em ‘big, grisly, shrunken rambutan nipples’. Funny man). Woffle’s ‘abetment’ charge is just cheating without any money or gifts being exchanged. Though no money or ‘gratification’ were exchanged in this case, paying someone to take the rap for your speeding offence has landed less prominent people in jail (2 months’ jail for paying man to take the rap, 25 Dec 2009, ST). In 2010, Charlie Lim Chau Lee was jailed 6 MONTHS for getting friends to take the rap for running a red light.
Last year, model Evangeline Tay was fined $2000 for engaging the eager aid of an ex-cop (6 months jail) and a property agent (3 months) to be ‘fall guys’ for her beating a red light. That is, putting your conspirators in the slammer for a total of 9 months while you get a slap on the wrist and a prescription for Prozac. Apparently she was suffering from an Alex Ong disease (depression), hence spared a jail term. God knows how many important people Woffles have saved from the decaying brink of their ‘golden years’ in the course of his work. In the land of the saggy, the man with the Botox syringe is king.
According to a 15 June ST article (Woffles Wu pays fine, but speeding probe is ongoing), Woffles reportedly said:
‘I believe many people similarly did not know that this is an offence…I was fined for providing the name of someone who was not driving the car, and it was a silly thing I did’
Not knowing if something is a legal offence doesn’t make it less WRONG. Did he think sabotaging someone else was some kind of ‘silly’ prank? There’s no playfulness or mischief in his actions at all. Just fear and deceit, especially for one who willingly exploits 1) an elderly person, 2) an employee and 3) knows that because of the scapegoat’s age he is unlikely to be jailed (and a fine can be settled out of the spare change in his pocket). Woffles not only obstructed justice, but coerced a vulnerable human being into a difficult position (perhaps in exchange for an unlimited supply of his patented ‘Woffles Lift’). For someone who eliminates fine lines and crows’ feet for a living, one must wonder how many more frown lines he must have inflicted upon this poor uncle. It doesn’t even make sense to suspect a 80 year old man for speeding at more than 90 km/hr unless he’s got his walking stick jammed against the accelerator.
One can’t deny Woffles’ contributions to a svelte, wrinkleless, A-cup free society. He’s even ‘presented’ a local movie called Singapore Dreaming. But it’s not the first time this God of the Botox cult has had his integrity questioned. In 2002, he was fined $4000 by the Singapore Medical Council for professional misconduct running a sideline selling skincare products while head at SGH. Plastic surgery, media spokeperson, involvement in the arts and flamboyant 8 days columns aside, a relatively unknown piece of trivia about Woffles is that he used to be a snooker king in the eighties, a ‘smooth criminal’ indeed. It’s unlikely that Woffles’ reputation and professional integrity as an award-winning plastic surgeon would get tarnished by this incident, though you’ll probably never see him make the list of most trustworthy Singaporeans again.
Postscript: On 17 June 2012, Law Minister K Shanmugam clarified the charge imposed, dismissing any claims that Woffles was let off easily because he was ‘rich’. He escaped on a technicality since he committed the offence when ‘misleading’ the police fell within the Road Traffic Act and not the more severe Penal Code in 2008. To be more specific, he was ‘rich enough to hire the best lawyers’.
Well, since the AGC has prompted us to consider the law before 2008, it’s easier to dig out inconsistencies in how it was applied then. In 1993, a man who gave his brother’s particulars after he beat a traffic light was found guilty of giving false information to the police. Delivery assistant Foo Wah Lee was slapped with a 3 week jail sentence (Man gets jail for lying to Traffic Police, 26 Nov 1993, ST). In the same year, a hawker was jailed for lying that it was his wife who was caught beating the red light so that his licence would not be suspended (Motorist jailed for lying to avoid suspension, 8 May 1993, ST).
In 2003, national footballer Ahmad Latiff was suspected of taking the rap for his wife after his BMW was caught speeding. According to the report, a person making a false declaration to authorities is guilty of a criminal offence which carries a maximum of TWO WEEKS jail. However, the footballer was acquitted eventually after charges were dropped (National plater acquitted of speeding, 22 May 2003, ST). In the latest press statement, the AGC stated ‘as there was no major accident or injury, the AGC said it was considered appropriate to charge Wu under the Road Traffic Act’. Neither was there any accident in the above examples, but offenders faced jail time anyway.
It appears that the only difference between a 1K fine and a jail term is Woffles got SOMEONE ELSE to lie on his behalf, whether Mr Kuan did it on his own accord out of indebtedness or was coerced remains unknown. But it ‘s clear what Woffles’ INTENTION was, as he admitted in his quote above (‘I was fined for providing the name of someone who was not driving the car’). Woffle’s scapegoat appears to be carefully selected, he did the same thing TWICE, and he hid this cheating incident away for 6 years, yet this pinprick penalty was within ‘the norm of usual sentences’. As for the police taking an old man’s cooked up stories, time to take some lie-detection courses, guys.