S'pore loan shark runner reports non-payment for loanshark work to police, gets arrested instead

He found the job on Carousell.

Darryl Laiu | June 01, 2018, 02:58 PM

We're not making this story up.

A Singaporean man who was working as a loan shark runner decided to make a police report when he did not receive payment from the loanshark after carrying out his tasks.

In a plot twist that everyone but him saw coming, he was arrested and subsequently sentenced to 16 months' prison on May 21, 2018.

The full case can be found on Lawnet.

Found job on Carousell

22-year-old Muhamad Syafiq Bin Mohamad Shah — who was doing his full-time national service at the time — had found the job on online marketplace Carousell. It was advertised as a "fast job" with "paid cash".

He communicated with a person known as Benson, who identified himself as an "Ah Long"(loanshark)

Benson offered S$200 per job, but Muhamad Syafiq eventually successfully negotiated for S$250 per job.


Owed S$5,000 for harassment carried out

From June 29 to July 3, 2017, the perpetrator visited a total of nine estates around Singapore: Bukit Merah, Compassvale, Ang Mo Kio, Holland Close, Redhill, Boon Lay, Chai Chee, Bedok, and Tampines.

He would first purchase the required tools — which included bicycle locks and paint — before heading to the various locations to conduct the harassment.

Wearing sunglasses to conceal his identity, Muhamad Syafiq would lock the gates of his victims' apartments and place A4-sized letters with the victims' name and address at the gate.

Muhamad Syafiq was promised a total of S$5,000 for all the jobs carried out, but did not receive the money.

After several failed requests to his employer for payment, the loan shark runner decided to file a report on July 5, 2017 with the police, in hopes of receiving the amount he was owed.

Defence: Accused was "naïve and introverted"

Muhamad Syafiq pleaded guilty for three out of the 14 charges of harassment under the Moneylenders Act.

In all three cases which he was found guilty for, he had been captured on police camera footage committing the act.

His counsel submitted a mitigating plea with the following factors:

  • The accused is a naïve and introverted person
  • He was remorseful
  • He co-operated fully with all procedures
  • He was susceptible to impulsive behaviour
  • He was willing to reform

Disagreeing with the lawyer, the judge cited incidents that didn't match the above factors. These include:

  • The accused had negotiated with Benson for a higher rate, indicating that he was not as naïve as claimed.
  • He was actively communicating with the unlicensed moneylender, and his replies were "casual, confident and comfortable" suggesting that he was not threatened by Benson.
  • The accused had agreed that he was not in financial difficulty.
  • He had committed at least 14 occasions of harassment, and each time, he would take pictures of the completed act and send it to Benson, suggesting his acts were deliberate and not simply impulsive.
  • He had bothered to use sunglasses to conceal his identity

The sentence

On May 21, 2018, the judge — despite noting that the number of victims are on the high side — granted "undeserved leniency", and sentenced him to a total of 16 months imprisonment.

The maximum sentence for such crime is imprisonment of up to five years, a fine between S$5,000 and S$50,000, and three to six strokes of the cane.

Top photo adapted from Bernard Oh on Flickr under Creative Commons License