Man, 49, chats with woman on dating app, gets taken to Punggol bistro & spends S$870 on wine

The man suspects that the two women he met were in cahoots with the drinking place.

Belmont Lay | Winnie Li | April 03, 2024, 01:42 PM



A 49-year-old man racked up a S$870 bill drinking wine at a bistro — in Punggol.

This was after the man, surnamed Qiu, met a woman on a dating app, only for her to bring along another woman, and the duo apparently consumed vast quantities of the alcoholic beverage leaving the man holding the bag.

In hindsight, the man, who is an engineer by profession, said he believes the women were in cahoots with the bistro, and he was led to initially assume the meet-up between him and the women was casual and not pre-meditated.

What happened

According to Qiu, who spoke to Shin Min Daily News, he met a woman, who is about 30 years old, on the Tantan ("探探") app on Mar. 29.

After chatting with the woman, known as Nuonuo, for about two or three hours, he decided to ask the woman out to meet in real life.

He said: "She agreed and sent me her address. I was a little sceptical, but she was willing to meet and gave me her phone number and home address, so I let my guard down."

They arranged to meet at the foot of Block 405A Northshore Drive at 7:30pm.

Nuonuo 'suddenly changed address'

However, after Qiu arrived at the HDB estate, Nuonuo suddenly changed her tune and said she lived at Block 406A instead.

Moreover, when Qiu went to the wrong block at Block 406C, she refused to go over to look for him.

Qiu ended up waiting for another 20 minutes before he finally saw Nuonuo on the side of the road.

Took him to drinking place

Qiu said: "Nuonuo then said she would take me to have a drink or two. I thought it would be at a coffee shop. However, after walking for about five minutes, we arrived at an izakaya in Punggol."

The place they ended up at is understood to be a drinking and dining place along Northshore Drive and not Izakaya 95, which is located at The Punggol Settlement and requires 25 minutes of walking to get there.

He explained that the woman claimed she did not drink beer and only drank red wine.

The cheapest red wine on the menu was a 750ml bottle, which cost about S$148, but the woman said she wanted a larger bottle.

Qiu ended up ordering a 1-litre bottle of Medinet Grenache, which cost about S$248.

"She asked me if I thought the wine was expensive, but if the wine I ordered was not what she wanted, she might change to another place," Qiu added.

"As the price didn't matter to me at the time, I ordered it immediately."

Nuonuo finished entire bottle in 10 minutes

However, Qiu said he did not expect that a bottle of red wine plus goods and services tax would cost S$270, and he had to pay immediately as soon as the drink was served.

While he thought the bottle would last for a few hours, Nuonuo ended up drinking the entire bottle of red wine in 10 minutes.

As he was not a good drinker, he only drank some, recounted Qiu.

Later, Nuonuo asked for a second bottle, and once again, she finished it within 10 minutes, Qiu claimed.

At that time, she also told him that a woman, who she claimed was her "elder sister", would also be joining them.

After the other woman arrived, she also ordered a bottle of red wine and drank the entire bottle within 10 minutes, said Qiu.

Qiu done after 3 bottles

Just as the women were about to order a fourth bottle, Qiu came to the realisation that something was amiss.

He decided to put a pause on the women's drinking spree by claiming that his credit card was about to be maxed out, and he could no longer buy more drinks.

At that juncture, Qiu had already spent a total of S$870.

Qiu said: "When they saw that I was not ordering wine anymore, they came up with a pretext to leave."

Women asked Qiu to book rides

Subsequently, the women allegedly asked Qiu if he could book a private hire vehicle for them to go to Bedok.

He refused, saying it was out of the way for him.

However, the women did not give up and made a follow-up request by asking Qiu to book a private hire vehicle for Nuonuo's "elder sister" to go to Clarke Quay to meet her boyfriend.

Qiu told them he had no more money left and would take a bus.

Upon hearing this, the women dumped him, claimed Qiu.

Bistro accused of hiring women to lure patrons to spend

Feeling suspicious about his experience at the bistro for the next couple of days, Qiu decided to go online and search for the price of the wine he bought.

To his astonishment, he found that a bundle comprising six bottles of wine were only sold for S$185 online.

Qiu also checked the Google reviews of the bistro and noticed some of them had accused it of hiring women whose purpose was to lure patrons to the establishment, only for them to order about S$200 worth of wine in one sitting.

The modus operandi of the women apparently also involved chatting up people on WeChat and asking them out for drinks at the bistro.

One reviewer claimed he spent about S$600 on drinks.

Qiu filed police report

Qiu subsequently contacted the bistro via WhatsApp on Mar. 30 to ask the proprietor of the business why the wine was sold for S$270 a bottle when it retails for about S$30 each online.

In response, the proprietor allegedly said the price of the wine was "transparent and fair", as all patrons would be charged the same amount.

The proprietor apparently added that the price had been the same for two years, and the wine was priced as such because the bistro needed to pay salaries for staff and the rent for the venue.

In the end, Qiu made a police report, adding that he wanted to relay his experience to the public to spread awareness.

The name of the bistro was not disclosed in the Shin Min report.

The Chinese daily tried to reach out to the proprietor but did not receive a reply by the time of writing.

Top images via Shin Min Daily News