Two accused of setting fire to flat in loansharking case taken back to crime scene

The two youth aged 16 and 18 accused of setting fire to a rental flat unit in Lengkok Bahru were taken back to the scene on Monday morning.
The two youth aged 16 and 18 accused of setting fire to a rental flat unit in Lengkok Bahru were taken back to the scene on Monday morning.ST PHOTO: SEOW BEI YI

SINGAPORE - Two young men accused of loanshark harassment by fire at Lengkok Bahru were taken back to the crime scene on Monday (May 9) morning.

They had allegedly set fire to a two-room rental flat on the 10th floor of Block 59, at around 2am on May 1.

The flat's occupant, who wished only to be known as Mr Tan, 50, believes they had poured kerosene along his doorstep before setting fire to it. On Monday, burn marks are still visible on the floor, but his gate has been repainted.

"Andy" was scrawled on the wall outside the flat four times, still faintly visible under a fresh coat of white paint.

The property agent's 14-month-old son was also sent to the hospital for smoke inhalation.

The youths were believed to be targeting the flat's former occupants, he said. He had moved in around two weeks ago with his wife and young son, and had smelled something burning when he was about to go to bed.

He put out the flames with a pot of water.

"We're definitely worried, and we hope that things will blow over, so that we can have a stable environment for the family," he said.

Sea Jiasheng, 16, and Chong Sheng Wei, 18, who were arrested on May 4, arrived at the scene in an unmarked grey van.

With their heads bowed, the pair were led from the vehicle in wrist and ankle restraints.

Police questioned them for about two minutes at the victim's front gate, before leading them away.

The teens are believed to be involved in two other cases of loanshark harassment by fire reported at Hougang Street 51 and Sembawang Drive.

The accused were charged under the Moneylenders Act on May 6.

First-time offenders found guilty of acting on behalf of an unlicensed moneylender, committing or attempting to commit acts of harassment can be jailed for up to five years and fined between $5,000 and $50,000.

They could also face between three and six strokes of the cane.

Last week, three suspects were arrested for another case of loanshark harassment involving fire reported at Block 554 Bedok North Street 3 on May 2.

byseow@sph.com.sg