SINGAPORE - A debt collector who led five other accomplices to a food stall in Funan DigitaLife mall and damaged the stall, disrupting its business while collecting a debt, was sentenced to four years and two months' jail last Thursday (Nov 16). He was convicted of several offences, including unlawful assembly to commit harassment and mischief with common intention.
Francis Lee Sian Sian, a debt collector from Double Ace Associates, was also sentenced to an additional 10 weeks' jail in lieu of a fine of $10,000, which he did not pay, the police said on Monday.
Lee, who was identified as the key perpetrator, had gone to the stall with other debt collectors from Double Ace Associates on Jan 15, 2015.
His colleagues - Andra Chew Keng Leng, David Tan, Tang Wei Leong, Lim Boon Tiong and Yong Chee Meng - were convicted and sentenced earlier this year.
Yong, Chew, and Lim met at Food Junction on Jan 15, 2015. They confronted a cashier, Ms Li Lili, 36, over a supposed debt owed by the stall owner.
The damage added up to $880 - Yong kicked a rice cooker and shoved a cash register onto the floor. Chew threw various food items into a large pot of soup, destroying it.
Chew, Tan, Tang, Lim and Yong were sentenced to between three and six months' jail each, The Straits Times reported in May this year.
While creditors have the right to pursue their debts, debt collection companies must operate within the boundaries of the law, the police said.
"The police have zero tolerance for lawless acts of harassment and will not hesitate to take stern action against debt collectors who employ thuggish tactics which threaten the community's sense of safety and well-being," the police said. "Those inclined to commit such acts will be pursued and dealt with severely in accordance with the law."
Unreasonable or aggressive debt collection tactics may constitute a form of harassment.
Victims of harassment may apply to the court for a protection order to stop the harassment.