Errant Sim Lim Square retailer Mobile Air reopens, apparently with a new boss

Mobile Air at Sim Lim Square. The Sim Lim Square mobile phone shop under fire for the last few weeks over its unsavoury business practices re-opened for business on Friday, after remaining closed for a week to escape media attention. -- ST PHOTO:&nbs
Mobile Air at Sim Lim Square. The Sim Lim Square mobile phone shop under fire for the last few weeks over its unsavoury business practices re-opened for business on Friday, after remaining closed for a week to escape media attention. -- ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - The Sim Lim Square mobile phone shop under fire for the last few weeks over its unethical sales tactics re-opened for business on Friday, apparently under a new owner.

When The Straits Times visited the shop on Friday, its owner Jover Chew was not there.

Instead, a Mr Ricky Lee, 33, who was at the store, said that he had bought over the business last week and will be reopening it under a different name, HJ Mobile. Mr Lee said he had bought over all remaining stock at the shop and has also taken over Mr Chew's lease which still has about a year left on it.

Two employees from Mobile Air were at the shop to help Mr Lee with the transfer of stocks. Mr Lee has not decided if he will hire them for his business. He said that he had worked at another mobile phone shop in Sim Lim Square for a few months last year. He also has experience in the food and beverage industry.

Mobile Air and Mr Chew were in the news last month after his staff tried to give a female customer more than $1,000 in coins as a refund.

It attracted more media attention and online criticism subsequently, when a Vietnamese tourist, Mr Pham Van Thoai, had to resort to begging on his knees to get a refund from Mobile Air.

Online satire group SMRT Ltd (Feedback) then publicised the personal details of Mr Chew on its Facebook page and he has been heavily criticised by netizens for the bullying tactics of his shop.

On Friday, when asked if he is worried about occupying a shop unit that has garnered such a bad reputation over the past week, Mr Lee said in Mandarin: "I will just try. Even if there are few customers, I can focus on other areas like export."

On Wednesday, the Consumers Association of Singapore said it had decided to take out an injunction against Mobile Air after the company decided not to sign an agreement to stop its unfair practices.

When contacted on Friday, Mr Chew's wife said she is not aware of Mobile Air reopening.

"Our two shops are separate. He did not tell me anything about him reopening his shop," said Ms Winnie Koh, 31, who also runs a mobile phone shop.

Mr Chew has not been home in more than a week, said Ms Koh. She added that she received a call from her husband earlier this week. He apologised and told her not to worry about him, said Ms Koh.