Audrey Tay, daughter of The Hour Glass founders, jailed for taking drugs

SINGAPORE: The daughter of the founders of a luxury watch chain was on Thursday (Oct 11) jailed and fined for taking drugs and causing a car crash in 2015 that uprooted a road divider.

Audrey Tay May Li, the 45-year-old daughter of the founders of The Hour Glass, pleaded guilty to three drug charges and one charge of driving without due care in August this year. 

Audrey Tay daughter of Hour Glass founders

Tay was sentenced to 22 months in jail and fined S$1,000 for her offences. She was also disqualified from driving for 18 months upon her release.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Terence Chua had asked for a sentence of 26 months’ jail, a fine and disqualification from driving. He said that despite having been allowed "no less than three chances to undergo inpatient treatment for drug addiction", she re-offended. 

Tay’s first offence was in August 2015. She had gone to a Thai restaurant at Orchard Towers, where a transsexual named Jeri offered her "something to relax" in the female toilet, court documents said.

Tay then used a straw that Jeri offered her to snort powder that Jeri had laid on the toilet seat cover. Tay was aware that the powder was "K" or ketamine, which is a Class A controlled drug, investigations revealed.

She left Orchard Towers after this and drove to meet a friend. While driving along a three-lane road, her car mounted a kerb, collided into the central divider of Newton Road and crashed into a traffic light.

The impact of the crash caused the traffic light pole to topple, obstructing all three lanes of the road on the opposite side, and also uprooted the central divider.

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The total cost of repairing both fixtures was about S$3,000, according to the Land Transport Authority.

While on bail for these offences, Tay agreed to undergo a psychiatric assessment at the expense of the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) on Oct 10, 2017.

However, she went to IMH in an intoxicated state on the day of her appointment. As her urine tested positive for ketamine and benzodiazepines, her psychiatrist reported this to the CNB.

She was arrested by CNB officers outside IMH and taken back to CNB headquarters for investigations, where she was searched. Several items were seized from her, including a black pouch with a powdery substance, stained straws and packets of powdery substances which were found to be ketamine.

Her urine samples were found to contain norketamine, a metabolite of ketamine, which meant she had consumed the drug. Tay admitted that she had relapsed into consuming drugs two months before and took them twice a week.

She admitted to consuming ketamine on Oct 9 last year, in the toilet of a petrol kiosk along Bukit Timah Road by herself, when her chauffeur had stopped to refuel.

In arguing her mitigation, Tay’s lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam focused on her mental condition. In the lead-up to the drug charges, Tay was in emotional pain due to rejection from her eldest daughter, Mr Thuraisingam said.

She had adjustment disorder, with elements of anxiety and depression, and it led to her acting recklessly, he said.

She could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined up to S$20,000 for consuming ketamine, while her driving offence could have cost her a maximum S$1,000 fine and up to six months’ jail.