Card cloned in minutes

He noticed a pamphlet advertising duplication services for condominium access cards and decided to meet the supplier.

Chief executive officer of the Association of Management Corporations in Singapore (Amcis), Mr Jimmie Ling, wanted to find out exactly where and how these suppliers were duplicating private condominium access cards.

Amcis is an alliance of management corporations and owners of residential, commercial or industrial properties here.

Mr Ling, 61, found the pamphlet at a bus stop in Yishun. He called the number printed on it, claiming to be a resident interested in copying his condominium access card.

He met the man at Admiralty MRT station and was shocked to see the entire duplication process completed in a matter of minutes.

Said Mr Ling: "The man reached into his bag and pulled out a simple, oblong device that looked like a franking machine.

"He glided my card through it and gave me the copied card on the spot.

"I'm aware that this unauthorised cloning of access cards has been going on for a couple of years.

"Now they even seem to be providing mobile services where they leave their phone numbers at bus stops and meet you somewhere to do the duplication.

"Usually tenants do this to let in sub-tenants who don't qualify for the access cards.

"These tenants mostly sublet their rooms to foreign workers from China or the Philippines."

Mr Ling also expressed his frustration that the police do not seem to be able to do much about the matter. "It is a dilemma I face. The police say that this is no different from the duplication of house keys."