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A former head of Singapore's narcotics police was cleared of corruption on Thursday after a court rejected charges that he demanded oral sex from a contractor to help her win government deals.
Ng Boon Gay, former director of the Central Narcotics Bureau, was accused of giving confidential information to a technology supplier who testified for the prosecution, but her statements were found to be inconsistent and unreliable.
"I am satisfied that the prosecution has failed to hold a case against you beyond reasonable doubt," District Court Judge Siva Shanmugam told Ng after a trial that captivated Singaporeans with its lurid details.
Supporters of Ng, 46, applauded after the verdict was announced. His wife Yap Yen Yen leaned her head on a relative's shoulder and wiped tears from her eyes, and the couple left the courthouse holding hands.
"It's very nice to get acquitted on Valentine's Day," national broadcaster Channel NewsAsia's website quoted Ng as saying.
Ng, one of the most senior public officials ever tried in Singapore for corruption, was accused of demanding oral sex from Cecilia Sue, 36, a computer systems sales executive, in exchange for helping her win contracts.
He admitted during the trial that he had sexual relations with Sue but said they had an extramarital affair that involved no corruption or coercion.
High-level corruption cases are rare in Singapore, a corporate and financial centre known for an efficient and well-paid bureaucracy.
Ng was charged with four counts of corruption. He could have been jailed for up to five years and fined a maximum of Sg$100,000 (US$81,000) on each count.
The trial judge said Ng's actions were "not corrupt as he was in an intimate relationship with Ms Sue at all times".
"She did not impress me as someone who could be taken advantage of," the judge added.
State prosecutors are assessing the ruling.
"We will study the grounds of the decision and assess whether to appeal," said a spokeswoman for the Attorney General's Chambers.
Wong Partnership, a top law firm representing Ng, said he still faces "internal processes" in the Ministry of Home Affairs, which oversees the police and narcotics bureau.