Never lie. But if it can't be avoided, never lie to a researcher who specializes in "the cognitive neuroscience of deception." A Singapore man learned this lesson the hard way and faces actual jail time over his alleged fib, reports Channel Asia News. Authorities say 40-year-old Paul Chan Kim Nang had volunteered to participate in a social science study at Nanyang Technological University. But on the eve of the study, he emailed researcher Lau Zen Juen—the deception expert—to say he wouldn't be able to make it because he'd contracted COVID and was in the hospital under quarantine, per Yahoo News Singapore.
Telling a white lie to get out of a commitment isn't generally a crime, but Chan's particular excuse about COVID might qualify. The university called the hospital because it was concerned about contact tracing it might have to conduct. When informed Chan wasn't a patient, the university called police, who charged Chan under a relatively new public-nuisance law that forbids communicating a false message. It carries a potential penalty of three years in prison, plus a fine of $10,000. (Read more lying stories.)