From The Straits Times Archives: The Jover Chew saga

Jover Chew, owner of the now-defunct Sim Lim Square store Mobile Air.
Jover Chew, owner of the now-defunct Sim Lim Square store Mobile Air.PHOTO: NEW PAPER FILE

SINGAPORE - Jover Chew, a mobile phone shop owner in Sim Lim Square, gained notoriety last November after a video of a Vietnamese tourist begging for a refund went viral.

 

More details of his and his staff's underhand sales tactics surfaced, and the 33-year-old was charged in May with cheating 25 customers between January and October last year. A charge of insulting behaviour and another of abetment by conspiracy to cheat were tendered against Chew in July. 

Four salesmen who worked for Chew were jailed for between four and 14 months on Oct 15. 

On Nov 30, Chew was sentenced to 33 months in jail and fined $2,000. He had pleaded guilty to 12 of  28 charges on Nov 16. We track some key events in the case. 


Nov 6, 2014

MPs call for stiffer laws to tackle errant retailers

Two Members of Parliament are pushing for stiffer regulation and stronger powers to deal with errant retailers who bully and cheat consumers.

They are doing so after a series of reports of retailers at electronics mall Sim Lim Square using unsavoury sales tactics on customers.

Read more here

Nov 7, 2014

Wife of shop owner insists they run separate businesses

The wife of the man who allegedly overcharged a Vietnamese tourist at Sim Lim Square has been on the receiving end of prank calls and online harassment, and even had her personal details splashed on the Internet.

But despite the attacks, she does not blame her husband and continues to believe that he is a good man who mixed with the wrong company.

Read more here

Nov 8, 2014

Vietnamese tourist thanks Singaporeans, but declines iPhone gift


Mr Gabriel Kang (right) with tourist Pham Van Thoai and his girlfriend. Mr Thoai had been subjected to aggressive sales tactics over an iPhone 6 at a Sim Lim Square shop that left him $550 poorer. As a gesture of goodwill, Mr Kang raised money online and bought an iPhone 6 to offer it to Mr Thoai before he left. PHOTO: GABRIEL KANG

He had begged, knelt and cried after being overcharged $550 while purchasing an iPhone 6 from a mobile phone shop at Sim Lim Square.

Vietnamese factory worker Pham Van Thoai’s Singapore stay ended on a different note. The 30-year-old, whose story touched many, was offered a 64GB iPhone 6 as a gesture of goodwill by Singaporean Gabriel Kang, who spearheaded an online campaign to secure "justice" for Mr Thoai.

Read more here

Nov 9, 2014

Measures to protect consumers being considered: Iswaran


The shuttered Mobile Air at Sim Lim Square. PHOTO: NEW PAPER FILE

Measures to protect customers are being looked into, revealed Second Minister for Home Affairs S. Iswaran in the wake of public anger over Sim Lim Square businessman Jover Chew's mistreatment of his customers.

But it may take some time, "especially if we need changes to our laws", Mr Iswaran said as he urged people not to take matters into their own hands.

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Nov 13, 2014

Case turns to court to bring Mobile Air to heel

The Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) has decided to take out an injunction against Sim Lim Square retailer Mobile Air after the firm refused to sign an agreement to stop its unfair practices, Case said in a media release.

Read more here

Nov 15, 2014

Blacklisted Sim Lim Square mobile phone shop reopens


Mr Ricky Lee (above) reopened Mobile Air for business. He said he bought the business from former owner Jover Chew, including its remaining stock, for a sum below market price. PHOTO: ST FILE

After taking a beating online for his questionable sales tactics, Sim Lim Square mobile phone shop owner Jover Chew has apparently given up his business.

Mobile Air’s Mr Chew, 32, has come under fire recently for overcharging customers, and his shop shutters have been down for the past week. But the shop reopened for business under a new owner.

Read more here

Jan 13, 2015

Sim Lim cleans up act but mall still quiet


Shoppers are still staying away from Sim Lim Square, especially from the shops on the first two floors of the IT and electronics mall in Bugis, where all the dishonest stores were previously found. PHOTO: ST FILE

The errant retailers at Sim Lim Square seem to have cleaned up their act, some two months after now-defunct shop Mobile Air made local and global headlines for its unsavoury sales tactics.

Shoppers, however, are still staying away, especially from the shops on the first two floors of the IT and electronics mall in Bugis, where all the dishonest stores were previously found.

Read more here

May 27, 2015

Jover Chew and Mobile Air staff charged over cheating cases at Sim Lim Square


Jover Chew, the owner of Mobile Air, was charged in court with cheating a total of 25 victims at his now-defunct Sim Lim Square shop. PHOTO: ST FILE

Jover Chew, owner of now-defunct Mobile Air, and four other men were charged in court on May 27 over cheating cases at the now-defunct Sim Lim Square shop.

The five men, aged between 31 and 38, had been arrested "for a series of cheating cases", said the police in a statement.

Each of the five faces between one and 26 charges. Chew alone faces 25 cheating offences and one criminal intimidation charge.

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May 28, 2015

Jover Chew of Mobile Air was unemployed, assisting with police probe for 5 months

Jover Chew, the owner of Mobile Air who has been arrested for a series of cheating cases at Sim Lim Square, had been assisting police with investigations for months, reports said.

Chew and four other men linked to the now-defunct Mobile Air were arrested for a series of cheating cases in Sim Lim Square.

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July 30, 2015

Jover Chew faces additional charges of insulting behaviour and conspiracy to cheat


Jover Chew leaving the court on May 29, 2015. Chew now faces 28 charges, including fresh ones of insulting behaviour and conspiracy to cheat. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

Two more charges were tendered against Jover Chew Chiew Loon, owner of the now-defunct Sim Lim Square store, Mobile Air.

This was during a pre-trial conference, and it brought the total number of charges he faces to 28.

Read more here

Oct 1, 2015

Jover Chew's four accomplices plead guilty to cheating charges


(From left) Koh Guan Seng, Kam Kok Keong, Lim Hong Ching and Kelvin Lim Zhi Wei admitted to conspiring to cheat customers. Their alleged accomplice, Jover Chew, owner of the now-defunct shop, will have his case mentioned on Oct 28. PHOTOS: ST FILE

Four salesmen from a Sim Lim Square mobile shop, where a Vietnamese tourist had begged for a refund, pleaded guilty on Oct 1 to engaging in a conspiracy to cheat walk-in customers.

Read more here

Oct 2, 2015

Brazen fraud, thuggish behaviour in Mobile Air case: DPP

The prosecution pressed for stiff sentences to be meted out to four salesmen from a Sim Lim Square mobile phone shop, who admitted to conspiring to cheat customers.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Eunice Lim, together with DPPs Charis Low and Victoria Ting, said the case had cast a shadow and brought disrepute to the integrity and reputation of Singapore's tourism and retail industries.

Read more here

Oct 15, 2015

4 shop salesmen jailed in Sim Lim cheating case


(From left) Koh Guan Seng, Kam Kok Keong, Lim Hong Ching, and Kelvin Lim Zhi Wei were each sentenced between four and 14 months jail for engaging in conspiracy to cheat walk-in customers. PHOTOS: ST FILE

Four salesmen from a notorious mobile phone shop in Sim Lim Square, who engaged in a conspiracy to cheat customers, were jailed for between four and 14 months on Oct 15.

Koh Guan Seng, 38, Kam Kok Keong, 31, Lim Hong Ching, 34, and Kelvin Lim Zhi Wei, 32, were working freelance for Jover Chew Chiew Loon, 33, owner of the now-defunct Mobile Air mobile phone shop which duped unsuspecting customers of a total of $16,149 between April 15 and Oct 27 last year.

Read more here

Nov 16, 2015

Jover Chew pleads guilty to 12 charges


Jover Chew arriving at the State Courts on Nov 16, 2015. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

Chew was convicted on Monday (Nov 16) of 12 charges of cheating, abetment by conspiracy to cheat, criminal intimidation and intentionally causing distress.

The 33-year-old, who faced a total of 28 charges, pleaded guilty to the proceeded charges in a district court, which postponed his sentencing to Nov 30.

Chew, sole director of the company, manned the Mobile Air shop at Sim Lim Square personally and recruited salesmen to conduct sales with walk-in customers.

Read more here

Nov 30, 2015

Jover Chew jailed 33 months for conning customers, also fined $2,000


Jover Chew arriving at the State Courts on Nov 30, 2015. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

Chew, said to be the "brains and architect" behind Mobile Air, was jailed 33 months on Monday (Nov 30) for cheating his customers. He was also fined $2,000 for a charge of insulting behaviour.

The prosecution had called for a three-year jail sentence for Chew.

Read more here