Monthly Archives: October 2014

Do Not Take Believers to Court 1 Corinthians 6 New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)

Suppose one of you wants to bring a charge against another believer. Should you take it to the ungodly to be judged? Why not take it to God’s people?

Don’t you know that God’s people will judge the world? And if you are going to judge the world, aren’t you able to judge small cases? Don’t you know that we will judge angels? Then we should be able to judge the things of this life even more!

So if you want to press charges in matters like that, appoint as judges members of the church who aren’t very important! I say this to shame you. Is it possible that no one among you is wise enough to judge matters between believers? Instead, one believer goes to court against another. And this happens in front of unbelievers!

The very fact that you take another believer to court means you have lost the battle already. Why not be treated wrongly? Why not be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong. And you do it to your brothers and sisters.

Chan Pui Woo Teresa v Ng Fook Khau Michael and another
[2011] SGHC 65

25 March 2011

Judgment reserved.

Lai Siu Chiu J:


1       Chan Pui Woo Teresa (“Teresa”), who is the plaintiff in this suit, was the unfortunate victim of an advance fee fraud, more commonly known as the “419 fraud” or “Nigerian scam”. She sued Ng Fook Khau Michael (“Michael”) who is the first defendant, and her former colleague Jonathan Tan See Leh (“Jonathan”) who is the second defendant, holding them responsible for the money she lost as a result of the fraud. Advance fee fraud comes in many variations but the basic concept is that the target is induced to part with his money to the fraudster in the hope of realising a significantly larger gain. The fraudster first baits the target by, for example, promising him a cut of a large sum of money locked up somewhere in exchange for his assistance in transferring the money through his bank account, or informing him that he has won a lottery. If the target expresses interest, the fraudster would take him through a series of steps to effect the transfer of the “money”. However, there would invariably be hurdles along the way and the fraudster would ask the target to advance some of his own money first to pay administrative fees, deposits, taxes, etc. The target, lured by the prospect of easy money, coughs up the sum requested but would then encounter more hurdles necessitating the payment of further sums of money. The process repeats itself until the fraudster disappears without a trace or the target realises he has been deceived. By then, the target would possibly have parted with substantial amounts of money.

2       The fraud here was apparently perpetuated by Michael among some members of the Christian community in Singapore which included Teresa. It is not disputed that Teresa had advanced various sums of money to Michael, in respect of which she sued him for recovery. Teresa also claimed damages against Jonathan for fraudulent or negligent misrepresentation in respect of the fraud.