Game over for Jover Chew: He sneaks in, ships out of Sim Lim
Rogue trader Jover Chew cleared out his Sim Lim Square shop over the weekend.
With the help of movers, he removed 10 boxes of goods from his store on the first storey on Sundayand loaded them into a waiting lorry.
Mr Chew, the owner of Mobile Air, became notorious for unfair trade practices, including coercing mobile phone customers to buy in-house warranties at inflated prices.
Netizens were outraged when a video featuring Vietnamese tourist Pham Van Thoai, 28, begging on his knees for a refund at Mobile Air, went viral online last month.
Mr Chew, 32, who went into hiding, first re-appeared at Sim Lim Square with three others last Friday, to move goods from his shop, according to Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao.
He returned at around noon on Sunday to move another 10 boxes and did not leave until 3pm, added the report.
He told Wanbao that he can never set up shop again because netizens were out to get him.
When The New Paper team visited Sim Lim Square yesterday, the shutters on his shop were down and Mr Chew was nowhere to be seen.
All that was left in the shop were a few mobile phone covers and screen protectors, visible through a side glass panel.
There appeared to be fewer customers on the first storey, but crowds were seen at the mobile phone and computer shops on the third- to fifth-storeys.
Staff members from several of these shops told TNP that they did not see Mr Chew over the weekend as they had been busy at the Sitex IT show at the Singapore Expo Convention and Exhibition Centre in Changi for the last four days.
"The mall was also very quiet as many of those who were serious about buying gadgets were all at the Expo," said an employee of a fourth-storey shop, who wanted to be known only as John.
Consumer watchdog Case had sent a letter to the management of Sim Lim Square on Friday asking for stricter rental agreements to be enforced.
An owner of a shop on the fifth storey, who declined to be named for fear of reprisals, said she welcomed the move, as it will help keep those who cheat customers away.
She added that she is glad Mr Chew has left the building.
"With him and his type gone, I hope business will return to Sim Lim Square. After all, one bad apple does not mean the rest of us are also rotten," she said.
Case: Malls should do own policing
Consumer watchdog Case wants the management of Sim Lim Square and People's Park Complex to strengthen their own enforcement against rogue retailers.
In a statement to the media, the agency said it "is extremely concerned" about the large increase in the number of complaints involving such shops.
And while it could invite retailers to sign a Voluntary Compliance Agreement to stop their unfair practices, Case believed the Management Corporation Strata Title (MCST) of both malls "should also do their part".
When tenants flout the laws, the MCST must compel the landlords to terminate their rental agreements.
Head of Case Seah Seng Choon said letters were sent to both MCSTs with suggestions on how these by-laws and rules can be carried out.