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Mon, Sep 28, 2009
The New Paper
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Ex-husband: She abducted the children
by Zaihan Mohamed Yusof

JOHN'S claims his ex-wife, Jane, had abducted his twin sons and he is seeking help from a US senator.

The New Paper reported yesterday that the couple were involved in a custody battle when Jane, a Singaporean, fled to Singapore with her boys.

John is a Chinese-American.

Although the boys had American passports, Jane got Singapore passports for them to leave the US. She then went into hiding here.

Back in the US, John waged a pressure campaign to get the 9-year-old boys back.

Under the law, their real names cannot be published to protect the children's identities.

John yesterday responded by e-mail to The New Paper's request for an interview.

He said he has been trying to locate his boys since they left the US on 31 Aug with their 44-year-old mother. His friends also sent out a volley of e-mails to plead his case, one of which reached Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont.

John said he also sent e-mails to the Singapore consulate in San Francisco. He forwarded us a copy of his e-mail.

He also filed a request for international judicial assistance on 23 Sep in a US court.

He is asking the Singapore authorities to help locate and return the boys to him.

Singapore is not a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

The US Department of State website states that Singapore does not recognise custody orders issued by foreign courts.

However, John insisted his ex-wife 'had abducted the children'.

He accused one of Jane's sisters of going to the US at the end of July to help plan the abduction.

Jane's family denied the accusations. They claimed they were surprised to learn that Jane had returned to Singapore with her children.

John claimed he never knew that the twins were issued Singapore passports in July.

The finance executive said in his e-mail: 'She somehow managed to get the Singapore passports from the Singapore Consulate... even though she did not have the children's birth certificates or any original documents.

'In the US, both parents have to be present and sign for an application for a minor's passport.'

According to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority's website, children under 16 years old must obtain parental consent when applying for passports, but need only one parent's particulars when applying.

John claimed that by taking the boys to Singapore, Jane had defied a US court order filed on 8 Jul which prohibits her from leaving the US with the children.

He added: 'The children's US passports were confiscated by the court and held by the attorneys to specifically prevent her from leaving the US with the children.'

John said he learnt of their disappearance after a call from their school from which they had been absent for a few days.

Their mother failed to appear for a family court hearing on 2 Sep.

The couple were living separately.

After John made a police report, he claimed that Jane's apartment was found to be empty and it was discovered she had recently quit her job.

He said the police later told him that Jane and the boys had left the US on 31 Aug.

John turned to lawyers and friends for help.

On 3 Sep, a court order was filed granting him full custody of the twins.

The order denies Jane any visitation rights.

His friends in Singapore also made a police report here.

Jane's family claims someone has also hired private investigators to locate the twins.

Said John: 'Just because she (Jane) doesn't like the court's decision, it doesn't mean she can flagrantly violate the law and do what she pleases.'

Jane said she had returned to Singapore to 'protect the boys'.

The marriage had broken down after years of fighting and disagreements on how the children should be raised.

Both sides had traded allegations as well.

John claimed Jane may not have been truthful about declaring details of her previous marriage when they were married in the US in November 1999.

She has got a letter from his lawyer seeking the return of the alimony he had paid her from the time the marriage ended in 2005 to March this year.

Can't wait to go to school

While their parents continue their battle, the twins are slowly adjusting to their new life in Singapore.

Born here in 2000, they followed their parents to the US in July 2004.

They have been taking tuition classes twice a week to prepare for school here.

Eloquent and not shy to express how they felt about the situation, they said they can't wait to go to school 'and make new friends'.

The boys have been told to be wary of anyone claiming to be a family friend.

An aunt told them to scream if any attempt was made to snatch them.

One twin said that when people look at them for a long time, the twins walk away before they can come close.


This article was first published in The New Paper.

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