Police called in after debt collectors cause a scene at Funan Mall

SINGAPORE - Debt collectors caused a scene at a foodcourt in Funan Mall two days in a row while trying to collect $21,000 owed by a stall owner.

The police was called in on at least one of the days, reported The New Paper.

Dressed in polo shirts with the words "debt recovery unit" on the back, the collectors from Double Ace Associates marched to the Chinese soup stall at about 1.20pm on Jan 15. Witnesses said they pushed the cash register, cooking equipment and utensils on the floor.

The next day, they returned with a large banner that read "Attention. Debt collection in progress".

But Mr Frankie Tan, who heads Double Ace Associates, denied that his collectors caused the mess in the stall.

He was quoted by The New Paper as saying: "Our main aim was to stop his business from operating, but we did not destroy any property in the stall."

He also justified the commotion caused by his employees as necessary to embarrass the debtors.

"Clients engage us because their debtors are not cooperative, so such confrontations are necessary."

The 53-year-old stall owner, who gave his name only as Mr Zhang, settled the debt by signing 24 cheques worth $1,200 each. The cheques will be cashed in monthly, reported Lianhe Wanbao.

The Chinese newspaper also reported that Mr Zhang was slapped with a $12,000 "collection fee" that was later reduced to $7,000.

Mr Zhang said the fee was unfair but he would pay it grudgingly as he did not want his problems to affect his family members and the people around him.

The case has been classified as a case of mischief and police investigations are ongoing.

ziliang@sph.com.sg