S'pore woman named Pony accused of helping students cheat exams & dated female accomplice for 7 years without revealing she wasn't a man

Real life stranger than fiction.

Andrew Koay | July 25, 2019, 02:17 AM

Here's your crazy Singapore crime story of the day. Or week. Or month. Or even the year.

Seven years without revealing gender

You would think that after seven years of dating, one would know one's partner pretty well.

Or, at the very least, know the gender of one's partner.

Not Tan Jia Yan, however.

According to Today, the 33-year-old Tan was previously in a seven-year relationship with her former tutor, Pony Poh Yuan Nie, but never realised the older woman was actually a woman.

Tan told the courts that she was 17 years old when she got into a relationship 16 years ago with Poh, who is now 53.

The younger lady was subsequently enlisted by Poh to work as a tutor at Zeus Education Centre, where Poh was the principal.

This is how Poh looks like:

In court for helping foreign students cheat exams

Now, Poh, along with two other accomplices — her niece Fiona Poh Min, 32, and Chinese national Feng Riwen, 27 — are standing trial for a sophisticated operation designed to help six foreign students cheat at their O-level examinations in 2016.

Tan, who was also involved in the scam, testified on July 23 as a prosecution witness.

She is the only one involved to have pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years jail in April 2019.

She is currently appealing her sentence

The scam

According to Yahoo News, Tan alleged that the operation involved her sitting for the O-level exams as a private candidate.

She would have a smartphone strapped to her by Fiona, who would also provide her with a Bluetooth device and earpiece.

Poh, Fiona, and Feng would then be sent a live feed of the exam paper via the Facetime app and would work out the solutions to the questions.

The answers would then be fed to the students who were also taking the exams.

The cheating students were alleged to also have been given Bluetooth devices which were connected with concealed mobile phones and skin-coloured earphones through which they could receive the answers.

They were eventually discovered on Oct. 24, 2016, when an exam supervisor caught one of the students who was sitting for the English Paper one.

The exams that the trio are accused of helping students cheat in were for Mathematics Paper one and two, English Paper one and two, and the Science Physics/ Chemistry Revised Practical Paper.

They were conducted between Oct. 19 and 24, 2016.

"Deceived me that she was a male"

Tan was questioned by Poh's lawyer, Peter Keith Fernando, who asked her if she and Poh were in a homosexual relationship.

"I didn’t know it was a lesbian relationship. I thought it was boy and girl," replied Tan.

She had first met Poh when she was aged 16 and attended O-level tuition lessons at Pivot Tuition Centre in Tampines.

Tan said: "Subsequently, she initiated the relationship with me and deceived me that she was male. The relationship went on for seven years.”

After questioning by Fernando, Tan said that the two had been intimate during their relationship.

Tan also said that she had been in love with Poh.

A third party

However, according to Tan, the relationship came to an end when she saw a text message sent to Poh from a third party in the relationship.

"For seven years I know there was someone that was involved, Wong Mee Keow, so I was being deceived that there was nothing between Wong and Pony."

Wong was the former owner of Pivot Tuition Centre.

She had previously been fined for lying to the police in 2006 to protect Poh who was being investigated for another scam, which involved helping Chinese nationals gain entry into a secondary school in Singapore without sitting an entrance exam.

According to Tan, she had seen a text message whereby Wong said to Poh "I love you".

"It was my last straw so I told Pony that I wanted to break up," said Tan.

The relationship ended in 2008, a few months before Tan graduated from university.

"A deep-seated grudge"

When questioned by Fernando if she had felt bitter about the break-up, Tan said that she felt sad.

However, she subsequently came to think of Poh as a mentor.

Fernando had accused Tan of lying, saying: "My instruction is that everything that you have alleged in testimony regarding Pony’s involvement in assisting students to cheat in examination is a pack of lies by you that you have made up."

Tan disagreed with his statement.

Fernando then added: "I put to you that the reason you have come to court to falsely implicate my client is because you have harboured a deep-seated grudge against Pony. In actual fact, she dumped you after a seven-year relationship and you were left helpless."

The trial will continue on Sept. 2.

Top image collage via Pixabay and screengrab from Movieclips Classic Trailers YouTube channel