Fake fund-raisers still soliciting donations for Yellow Ribbon Project

Two years after their misdeeds were first highlighted, fake fund-raisers are still soliciting donations under the name of the Yellow Ribbon Project.

Ice cream, toys and key chains were recently being sold in public and door to door for between $10 and $20 - but the project said it was not conducting any public fund-raising.

Neither has it authorised anyone to do so.

Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao reported yesterday that a group of teenage "Yellow Ribbon Project members" have been trying to sell the items to residents and shopkeepers in Bukit Timah and Holland Village.

Usually operating in groups of three, the teenagers would knock on doors of bungalows at night and peddle their goods in the name of the government-initiated project.

But the secretariat for the project, which helps reformed offenders re-integrate into society, issued this warning on its website: "There are no fund-raising initiatives organised by us that include the sale of key chains, handy collaterals or food items on the streets or from door to door."

This is not the first time the project's name has been abused.

In 2011, The Straits Times reported that some people were selling pens, key chains and ice cream under the guise of the Yellow Ribbon Project.

Mrs Dolly Lai, 56, who bought an Angry Birds key chain from a man outside Tampines Mall two years ago, was one of those who thought they were doing a good deed.

Clad in a T-shirt and jeans, the man, in his 20s, had claimed to be an "ex-convict" who was raising funds for the Yellow Ribbon Project.

He flashed a licence card, but Mrs Lai did not bother to read it. "I gave him the benefit of doubt," said the housewife, who paid five dollars for the key chain.

Two years on, the same man is still peddling key chains outside the mall.

"It's always the same person at the same place," Mrs Lai said.

In March, it was also reported that bogus Red Cross volunteers were asking for donations in public.

Anyone who wants to solicit funds for charity in public requires a licence from either the police or the National Council of Social Service (NCSS). Those without a valid licence can face a maximum fine of $5,000, a maximum jail term of two years, or both.

The public can verify the authenticity of the licence by scanning the permit's QR code or texting "FR\\" to 74688.