How Jover Chew incident would have been dealt with now

Jover Chew (above) was sentenced to 33 months' jail and a fine of $2,000 for cheating his customers last November. Four of his workers were also jailed last year for similar offences.
Jover Chew (above) was sentenced to 33 months' jail and a fine of $2,000 for cheating his customers last November. Four of his workers were also jailed last year for similar offences.TNP FILE PHOTO

Jover Chew's mobile phone shop at Sim Lim Square, Mobile Air, shot to infamy in November 2014 when a video of a Vietnamese tourist begging for the return of his money went viral.

The shop refused the Consumers Association of Singapore's request for it to sign an agreement to stop its unfair practices then.

Case's next step was to take out an injunction against Mobile Air.

The process would take several months, as Case had to seek approval from its relevant committees as well as the Injunction Proposals Review Panel at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, before applying for the court order.

Chew and four of his workers were last year jailed for cheating customers.

Describing how Mobile Air would have been dealt with under the new law passed yesterday, Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon said Case would refer the case to Spring Singapore, which now has the power to gather evidence - such as by entering and searching the shop even without a warrant - that Mobile Air had carried out unfair practices.

Spring could present the evidence to the courts, which might then issue an injunction barring Mobile Air from engaging in unfair practices as stated in the Consumer Protection (Fair Trading) Act.

The courts could also order Mobile Air to publicise its injunction status, such as by putting up notices on its premises. It would then be up to consumers to decide whether they still want to purchase from Mobile Air.

The shop's employees who engaged in the unfair practices could also be required to similarly declare that they are under an injunction.

Spring and Case could also work together to publicise the retailer's injunction order.

Had Mobile Air not complied with the court orders, Spring, as the administering agency, would have the power to haul the retailer to court. Failure to comply with a court order is considered a criminal offence, which could result in a fine and/or jail.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 14, 2016, with the headline 'How Jover Chew incident would have been dealt with now'. Print Edition | Subscribe