Debt collector turns loan shark runner

He pleads guilty to carrying out harassment jobs for unlicensed moneylender to offset his own $2,000 debt

A debt collector with some rough tactics of his own agreed to turn loan shark runner for an unlicensed moneylender, carrying out harassment jobs for about a month, to offset his own $2,000 debt.

Weng Jiajun, 33, who held various occupations including working for debt-collection company Double Ace Associates, consented to work for a loan shark named Lucas, who had lent him money last year. The work involved splashing paint on debtors' flats, writing messages on the walls and padlocking their gates.

Lucas promised he would deduct $150 for each flat harassed from Weng's debt of $2,000. He threatened to burn hell notes at Weng's parents' house if he did not agree.

Weng pleaded guilty to eight charges, including house trespass, and will have 11 taken into consideration at sentencing.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Caleb Tan said Weng carried out the harassments at various housing estates from late December last year until his arrest on Jan 29.

But before any of that, while working as a debt collector for Double Ace, Weng and his colleague trespassed into a flat in Pandan Gardens on June 27 last year.

They had gone there to collect an alleged debt of about $28,000 on behalf of Lee's Motor Trading.

According to Double Ace's website, one of its debt recovery tactics was to force debtors into paying.

Initially, the mother of the debtor, who was abroad, had refused to let the two men into the flat. But they managed to get her to let them in after calling and threatening the debtor on the phone. Insisting they had a "CID letter", the duo demanded to enter the flat to seize any valuable items as a deposit for his loan.

After Weng and his colleague checked the debtor's room, they remained in the flat unlawfully. They demanded the 66-year-old victim open the drawers in her bedroom, where they saw her POSB passbook. They began to hurl abuse at her and left only when she gave them $150.

In an earlier case on March 8 last year, Weng and two other debt collectors entered a Korean restaurant in Thomson Road and demanded payment of an alleged debt from the owner.

The trio harassed the staff, created a commotion and chased the patrons out at dinner time.

When one of Weng's alleged accomplices saw the owner's wife trying to record a video of their actions on her phone, he slapped her. Her phone fell on the floor and he stomped on it.

The case was adjourned to Friday next week for mitigation.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 08, 2015, with the headline 'Debt collector turns loan shark runner'. Print Edition | Subscribe