SINGAPORE - A delivery man who used bicycle locks to chain the gates and set fire to HDB flats on behalf of a loan shark was sentenced to 3 1/2 years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane on Tuesday (Jan 26).
Muhammad Jasni Mdet, 26, admitted to four of 11 charges of unlicensed moneylending harassment between Oct 13 and 15 in 2015.
To avoid detection, he would sometimes put on a face mask. Once, he crawled along the corridor of a block in Toa Payoh Lorong 1 to avoid the CCTV camera or passers-by in the block opposite.
Jasni had defaulted on his loans and worked for a loan shark known as "Patrick'' to offset his debts. He was offered $300 per location that he "worked on".
Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Wee Hao said Jasni had been involved in gambling and clubbing since age 21 and borrowed more than $9,000 from licensed moneylenders to finance his lifestyle. He also bought multiple electrical appliances on instalment plans, and chalked up more than $3,000 in fines for parking offences.
Jasni borrowed money from loan sharks including "Patrick" but was unable to pay them back.
"Patrick" then got him to be "a harasser", which entailed going to homes, locking the gates of the units with bicycle locks, and setting the units on fire with petrol.
To prepare for the jobs, Jasni bought bicycle locks and a ketchup bottle to fill with petrol on Oct 9.
Between Oct 13 and 15, he drove his van to Sims Drive, Jalan Bukit Merah, Holland Drive and Toa Payoh to lock the gates of the units targeted and set fire to them. The occupants were in but no one was hurt. He also took photos of the fire and sent them to "Patrick''.