SINGAPORE, June 13 — For years, Ryosuke Tanaka went to different dental clinics to get treatments and services worth anything from hundreds of dollars to almost S$3,000 (RM10,468).

After the treatment but before making payment, he would excuse himself to go to the toilet outside the clinic, never to be seen again. He could not be contacted after that as well.

In all, he skipped more than S$7,000 in payments.

Yesterday, the 36-year-old Singaporean was sentenced to five months’ jail, after pleading guilty to three counts of dishonestly obtaining services.

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Four similar charges were taken into consideration during sentencing.

Court documents showed that Tanaka sought root canal treatment from a dental clinic on January 18 this year.

Although the name and full address of the clinic was not disclosed in court documents, the postal code showed that it was located in the Orchard Road area.

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Before the treatment, the dentist had explained to Tanaka the cost and number of appointments required for the treatment plan.

Tanaka signed a form indicating the estimated costs.

After a root canal procedure that lasted roughly two hours, Tanaka was asked to make payment of S$1,580.50.

He told the clinic's workers that he was going to the toilet located outside the premises, left without making payment and did not return.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Cheronne Lim said that the clinic called four different contact numbers previously provided by the accused and sent messages via WhatsApp but did not receive a reply from him.

She added that the dental clinic had provided treatment to Tanaka on four occasions in September last year and received payments for those.

The dentist made a police report about the January 18 incident the next day.

Tanaka repeated the same modus operandi at different clinics on Jan 23 and March 22 this year, with one of the treatments worth almost S$2,960. Each of the clinics filed police reports about the incidents.

In addition to these incidents, Tanaka also obtained dental services worth more than S$2,200 at three clinics on four occasions from May 2020 to October 2022.

Court documents did not state if police reports were made over these incidents, which formed the basis of the charges taken into consideration in sentencing.

DPP Lim said that some of the services rendered to Tanaka were “semi-surgical” and the costs were significant. His actions also caused distress on the clinic's work crew who had to look for him in nearby toilets.

They also tried to contact him multiple times.

In mitigation, his defence lawyer Noelle Teoh said that the way he had cheated the clinics was not sophisticated and he did not make effort to conceal his act, since his personal and contact details were available to the clinics.

She also highlighted that he had made restitution to all the clinics.

For each count of obtaining services in a dishonest or fraudulent manner, Tanaka could have been jailed for up to 10 years or fined, or both. — TODAY