Singapore

Thai jailed for loanshark offences

A Thai man who came here to harass debtors on behalf of a loan shark was jailed for 21 months and given six strokes of the cane yesterday.

Changchai Suriya, 33, had pleaded guilty to two of five counts of committing acts to annoy flat occupants and causing damage to their property in August. Three other charges were taken into consideration.

A district court heard that while overseas, Suriya was looking for a job through a forum where advertisements were put up to recruit people for jobs in Singapore.

He contacted a man called Ah Fei, and agreed to come to Singapore to work.

On Aug 11, Suriya reached Singapore and met Ah Fei at Golden Mile Complex.

Ah Fei told him the job entailed shaming people who owed him money. Suriya's job was to splash paint, use bicycle locks to lock the house and set fire to the premises.

Four days later, Ah Fei provided him an address to set fire to.

At 2.15am that day, Suriya took a taxi to a block of flats in Marine Terrace. He defaced the second level wall beside the unit by using an indelible red marker to write the details of the debtor and set fire to the unit by using lighter fuel.

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He then used his mobile phone to take photos and sent them to Ah Fei. A neighbour called the police.

Before this, Suriya had gone to a block at Tampines Street 42 and splashed black paint at the door of a unit, locked the main gate with a bicycle lock and defaced the third level wall beside the unit with graffiti.

It turned out that neither the victim nor his family members had owed money to any loan sharks. He had just moved in a month earlier.

Suriya was arrested the next day.

Police seized gloves, bicycle locks, black paint cans and red markers, among other things, from him.

For his harassment acts, he was paid $100.

Suriya, whose sentence was backdated to Aug 18, could have been jailed up to five years, fined between $5,000 and $50,000, and given up to six strokes of the cane on each charge

– The Straits Times Online

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