Loan sharks target pre-school at The Pinnacle@Duxton in Tanjong Pagar

Workers attempting to scrub off the paint splashed at the Modern Montessori International at The Pinnacle@ Duxton yesterday. The incident has prompted unease among residents, one of whom said it was surprising that loan sharks would choose to target
Workers attempting to scrub off the paint splashed at the Modern Montessori International at The Pinnacle@ Duxton yesterday. The incident has prompted unease among residents, one of whom said it was surprising that loan sharks would choose to target an establishment filled with children.PHOTO: SHIN MIN

School says incident could be an act against a parent who withdrew children months ago

A pre-school located on the third floor of The Pinnacle@Duxton in Tanjong Pagar was targeted by loan sharks yesterday morning, leaving residents of the premium public housing estate worried.

Red paint was splashed on the back door, walls and signboard of the Modern Montessori International at around 6am yesterday.

A spokesman said the school was an innocent victim in the matter.

"It could be an act against a parent who had withdrawn the children from school a couple of months ago," he said.

When The Straits Times visited at about 5pm yesterday, the signboard had been removed and workers were seen still trying to scrub off the paint from the walls and windows. There were also streaks of red paint on the floor.

The police said they received a call for assistance at about 6.30am yesterday. "Upon arrival, it was established that a case of unlicensed moneylending harassment had occurred... Police investigations are ongoing," they said.

There are two pre-schools located next to each other on the third floor of the residential complex. The third floor connects all seven blocks of the development.

A number of playgrounds can also be found on that floor.

The incident prompted unease among residents such as Madam Ganga Narangoda, 43, who said it was surprising that loan sharks would choose to target an establishment filled with children.

"I am very worried. This is an educational institution and such actions are not acceptable," said the housewife, who has a four-year-old son.

According to Chinese evening paper Shin Min Daily News, a note with a name and an address was found at the scene.

When The Straits Times visited the unit, also located at The Pinnacle@Duxton, it appeared to be empty. The door was covered with a plastic sheet, with red paint splashed all over it, despite the presence of two closed-circuit television cameras directly outside the unit. There were also many letters left at the door.

Neighbours said the unit used to be occupied by a family with three or four children. They moved out in November last year.

One neighbour, who wanted to be known only as Mr Tan, said it was the third time the unit had been targeted by loan sharks.

The first incident, he said, took place a number of years ago, which prompted the owners to install the CCTV cameras.

MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC Indranee Rajah - who is also the Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Finance & Ministry of Law - posted this note on Facebook on Friday afternoon.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 15, 2016, with the headline 'Loan sharks target pre-school in Tg Pagar'. Print Edition | Subscribe