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If I were a scammer, I'd have run away

BUSY: Mr Gary Tang said that when he took the orders, he did not expect his acrylic business to go up nearly four times. TNP PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

The man in the middle of the Lego storm claimed it was an additional service for friends and regular customers, and that he was doing them a favour.

When The New Paper contacted Mr Gary Tang, he agreed to meet us to set the record straight.

His main business is making acrylic cases, said the 43-year-old.

He started a "buy for you" service some time in October last year, so local collectors could own Lego sets at reasonable prices.

"To me, it was about promoting Lego and helping people own sets. But it turns out all people are out for is a cheap deal, and some are even making a profit out of it.

"I don't earn any money from this. In fact, I'm even using my own time to sort out the sets and to deliver it to people's homes," he claimed.

It is not that he does not want to deliver on his promises, he said. But when he took the orders, he did not expect his acrylic business to go up nearly four times.

His business is home-based and all his cases are handmade in his Housing Board flat in Ubi.

He said that after designing the cases, he uses a chloroform solution to melt the acrylic, joining the pieces together by hand.

The married father of two said he, too, deserves family and personal time.

"By the time I get my son to bed, it's already close to 11pm. How many boxes do you think I can deliver then?"

The boxes are all in a storage area - he did not want to reveal where - and the sets are all jumbled up, so he needs time to sort them out, he claimed.

Asked why he did not take a day or two off work to sort out the matter, he asked: "And who's going to pay my bills for the next month?"

He insisted that his personal delivery of the Lego sets was the most efficient method.

"If you have a meet-up, there are sure (to be some people) who wouldn't show up. And by then, I would have wasted one day of my time," he said.

He had already stated on the eBay page that buyers would have to wait for their Lego sets.

SIX-MONTH WAIT

But a six-month wait?

"If I really had the intention of scamming them, I would have run away with the money in the very beginning. Why wait till now and stay here?"

He claimed he had never defaulted on any delivery.

What about the toy shop in Bugis?

"I thought that since we were friends, I'd let (Ms Huang) take the sets and cases first. And I even gave the shop priority. Between friends, you wouldn't want to keep a record of everything," he said.

Despite saying that he does not have the contact details of some who ordered from him, Mr Tang never denied the outstanding orders. He acknowledged that he owed them about $40,000 worth of Lego sets.

"If these people had asked nicely, I would have worked harder towards getting them their items. But then they started doing all these things," he said.

Pulling out his mobile phone, he showed a text message from a customer.

The message had his full name, identity card number, home address, car licence plate number and make of car, with text that said: "Double check arh... (sic) Your details correct?"

He said: "All of them sent me this message at the same time. What am I supposed to make of this?"

While he knows about the police reports, Mr Tang said the police have not contacted him yet.

An option for him now is to raise $40,000 to pay the group before sorting out the boxes when his schedule permits.

He said: "They might not agree, but I don't think I'm doing anything wrong."

"If these people had asked nicely, I would've worked harder towards getting them their items."

- Mr Gary Tang, who insisted that his personal delivery of the Lego sets was the most efficient method