Netizens expose details of Sim Lim Square mobile shop owner who bullied Vietnamese tourist

Mr Pham Van Thoai, a factory worker, was so desperate he knelt down to beg the Mobile Air shop employees to return his hard-earned cash, but only got refunded less than half of what he paid. -- PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
Mr Pham Van Thoai, a factory worker, was so desperate he knelt down to beg the Mobile Air shop employees to return his hard-earned cash, but only got refunded less than half of what he paid. -- PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
Mr Jover Chew, the owner of Mobile Air, in an interview with The New Paper. -- PHOTO: TNP
Mr Jover Chew, the owner of Mobile Air, in an interview with The New Paper. -- PHOTO: TNP

SINGAPORE - The owner of infamous Sim Lim Square shop Mobile Air has become the subject of intense online scrutiny amid the rash of reports that have implicated it in a number of questionable business dealings.

Outraged netizens, after reading stories of how tearful Vietnamese tourist Pham Van Thoai was forced to kneel down on his knees and beg for a refund, have resorted to Internet vigilantism to shame its owner, Jover Chew.

Mr Chew's personal information and addresses of his various businesses, including that of his wife's, were splashed all over online forums and the Facebook page of satirical group SMRT Ltd (Feedback).

 

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Social media has been buzzing with calls for Mobile Air to refund the full amount back to factory worker Mr Pham, who was asked to foot an additional $1,500 in warranty fees on top of the $950 he had paid for an iPhone 6.

The phone was meant to be a birthday present for his girlfriend. Mobile Air only refunded him $400 after the Consumer Association of Singapore (Case) weighed in on the dispute.

Mobile Air has long held a notorious reputation within the IT shopping mall, with Case reportedly receiving 18 complaints about the shop in the first 10 months of this year. It had also previously drawn flak for refunding a customer $1,010 in coins.

But the online hate directed at it has reached fever pitch, as Mr Chew's wife - who allegedly runs a separate business called J2 Mobile - took to Facebook to plead her innocence.

 

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When contacted by evening daily Lianhe Wanbao, his wife said she did not know the whereabouts of Mr Chew, adding that he has not been home for days. She also claimed that she has filed a police report about the allegations circulating online.

Singaporeans, meanwhile, have rallied in support of Mr Pham. A man by the name of Gabriel Kang started a petition on crowdfunding website indiegogo to raise US$1,000 (S$1,250) to buy a new phone for him.

As of 6pm on Wednesday evening, the campaign had received more than US$3,000 in donations.

mklee@sph.com.sg