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Goh Yan Han
Saturday, Apr 19, 2014

Singapore

Woman can't claim prize money from winning 4-D tickets found

The New Paper | Goh Yan Han | Saturday, Apr 19, 2014

She wanted her lost 4-D tickets back so badly that she has gone to the police station three times to claim them.

Madam Julia Tong, 50, a cleaner, has been disappointed each time.

But she is not giving up.

After all, at stake is $5,445, the amount she would have won from three winning numbers if she had not lost the five tickets last Saturday.

Madam Zeng Yanqiu, 47, a hotel housekeeper, had handed the tickets to the police after finding them on the ground near Block 108 at Tampines Street 11 that evening.

It has not been a total loss for Madam Tong, who went back to the Singapore Pools outlet at nearby Block 107 to search for the tickets. When she could not find them, a supermarket employee suggested that she buy the 4-D numbers again.

She did and won $5,000 with the number 3290, which was drawn as the second prize.

Madam Tong found out about her missing tickets after her friend read about Madam Zeng in Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao on Monday.

Excited about the possibility of reclaiming her lost tickets, she took the article to the police station on Monday evening.

"I told the police that the tickets found were mine. But they said that was not enough to claim my tickets because anybody could go to them and say the tickets were theirs," she told The New Paper in Mandarin.

"I couldn't do anything, so I gave them my IC number and phone number and went home."

Madam Tong admits that she is "blur blur".

"I have lost 4-D tickets before, but they didn't win a prize. Otherwise, I would have died."

She returned to the police station on Tuesday morning, but was met with the same response.

On Tuesday evening, accompanied by the Lianhe Wanbao reporter, she lodged a police report about her lost tickets.

"I am not being greedy, but what is mine is mine," she said.

Madam Tong, who earns about $900 a month, said she had always bought 4-D at the same outlet every week for all three draws.

"I buy numbers for my husband and myself. The number 3290 was his," she said.

When Madam Tong lost her tickets, her 4-D-loving husband scolded her for being carelessness.

"I accepted it because it was my fault," said Madam Tong. "He did instruct me to keep the tickets properly."

But the Indonesian-born Singaporean has a dilemma about her 4-D habit.

"To me, it is a bad habit and it doesn't seem worth it to spend my salary gambling," she said.

"But my husband always wants to buy and so I recently started buying as well."

The couple have been married for more than 30 years and have three sons and a daughter.

"My daughter is going to graduate from polytechnic soon. I hope to use the money to buy something for her," said Madam Tong.

She said she also intends to give some money to her blind mother and buy a new phone.

"My phone is getting old," she said.

It got cut off at least five times during our hour-long phone interview.

HONGBAO REWARD

If she manages to get her tickets back and claim the money, she plans to give Madam Zeng a hongbao.

"My husband agrees that we must do this because we are grateful to her," said Madam Tong, who met Madam Zeng on Tuesday with the help of a Lianhe Wanbao reporter.

Said Madam Zeng: "Madam Tong rushed to shake my hand and wanted to buy me a drink. I told her it was just coincidence that I happened to find her tickets, and it was okay for her not to give me a hongbao."

Madam Tong remains hopeful that she can get her tickets back and said: "I hope the police will call me back soon."

A Singapore Pools spokesman said that it will assist police in their investigations, but has yet to be approached.

This article was published on April 17 in The New Paper.

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