Debt collector who caused trouble at food court jailed 3 months

Debt collector Tang Wei Leong was sentenced to three months' imprisonment for his part in a fracas that occurred at a Funan Centre food court.
Debt collector Tang Wei Leong was sentenced to three months' imprisonment for his part in a fracas that occurred at a Funan Centre food court.ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - A debt collector was jailed for three months on Monday (May 15) for being a member of an unlawful assembly that caused a ruckus at a food court at Funan DigitaLife Mall on Jan 15, 2015.

Tang Wei Leong, now 45, and five of his colleagues from Double Ace Associates - all fellow debt collectors - went to Food Junction and headed towards the Soup Master stall that day as its owner had supposedly borrowed $21,000 from food supply company Oregano Trading.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Kenneth Kee said: "Double Ace operates exclusively as a debt collection company that provides debt recovery services to creditors for a fee."

He added that four of Tang's colleagues, Francis Lee Sian Sian and Yong Chee Meng, both 41, Andra Chew Keng Leng, 40, and Lim Boon Tiong, 43, met at the food court at around 1.15pm and confronted a cashier who was manning the stall.

They told her that they were there to collect the owner's supposed debt and would disrupt business if their demands were not met.

DPP Kee said: "The four of them then took turns to stand in front of the stall to chase away potential customers informing them that the stall was not in operation. They had also demanded that the victim call for her boss to come down to the stall to account for the alleged debt owed."

Tang and another one of his colleagues, David Tan, 37, soon arrived at the scene and joined the others. They refused the leave the premises and demanded for the money in the tills.

But management staff, who had rushed to the scene, prevented them from taking the cash.

Tang and his colleagues refused to budge when police officers arrived at the scene. They even challenged the officers, claiming they were legally entitled to continue with what they were doing.

The six men then told the police that they were going to have lunch in the food court.

DPP Kee said: "Seeing that the accused persons were no longer insisting on taking the money found in the cash register, the police officers issued a final verbal reminder to the group before leaving the scene."

Tang and Tan remained at the stall for about an hour before leaving the premises.

Their colleagues who stayed behind became violent when the debtor still failed to turn up at around 3pm.

Yong kicked a rice cooker and shoved a cash register onto the floor. He also punched the stall's acrylic display boards, breaking them.

Chew purposely threw various food items into a large pot of soup, destroying it.

The police were called again but the four men fled before officers arrived.

DPP Kee said they caused $880 in damages and have made no restitution.

Chew, Tan and Lim have already been dealt with in court and were each jailed between three and five months.

The cases involving Yong and Lee are still pending.

For being a member on an unlawful assembly, Tang could have been jailed up to two years and fined.