Debt recovery firm director admits to offences including harassment and fighting in public

Vantage Debt Recovery director Jasmine Tan Su Ling admitted to two counts of abetment to cause harassment on April 12, 2019. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Vantage Debt Recovery is a legitimate business but some of the methods used by the company's director Jasmine Tan Su Ling were definitely unlawful.

In 2016, Tan and a group of men went to the workplace of a purported debtor. There, she hurled vulgarities at the man and threatened to report him to the police for "molesting" her.

On two occasions in 2017, she sent two men to the flat of another man where they harassed members of the household including his wife and maid. The court heard that the couple's young children were at home on both occasions.

Tan, 28, on Friday (April 12) admitted to two counts of abetment to cause harassment. She also pleaded guilty to being a member of an unlawful assembly and to an unrelated charge of fighting in a public place.

The court heard that on Oct 28, 2016, the company was appointed by one Ms Sarah Tay Geok Chen to recover a purported debt of €24,000 (S$36,800) from a 52-year-old real estate agent.

Assistant Public Prosecutor Dillon Kok said that according to the terms of agreement between Vantage Debt Recovery and Ms Tay, the firm was entitled to a commission of 20 per cent of the amount recovered. It would also receive a non-refundable administrative fee of $800.

Tan decided to harass the man by confronting him at a show-flat where he was working on Dec 12.

She got one of her employees, Ivan Chia Kian Boon, 27, to pose as a potential buyer to meet the man there.

She also roped in the director of another debt recovery firm, Graceson Ang, 34, and told him she needed more people "as a show of force".

Tan and Chia entered the show-flat at around 2pm while Ang and his group waited outside.

She started shouting at the purported debtor and told him to step out to a nearby porch where he encountered the other men.

The APP said: "Jasmine repeatedly shouted at (the man), at times, using derogatory terms, vulgarities and religious taunts, while demanding that he repay the debt allegedly owed to Sarah. She challenged him to hit her and told him to call for the police.

"She also threatened that she would tell the police that he had molested her and also that she would repeatedly visit the show-flat to pressure him into paying the sum."

The other men joined in and one of them used a loudhailer to shout at the property agent, who denied owing money.

The court heard that the harassment lasted about 40 minutes and the group left before police arrived at the scene.

In March 2017, Tan twice sent two men to harass a 46-year-old man at his Jurong flat in a bid to recover more than $46,000 in outstanding payments. His wife and maid told them the man was not at home on both occasions on March 23 and March 31.

Tan did not cease her actions against him despite receiving a letter from his solicitors.

During the second visit, the men shouted at the man's wife and, according to APP Kok, threatened to "bring more people" if he did not pay up.

Separately, Tan fought with her former husband's girlfriend at Ayer Rajah Food Centre on Sept 6 last year.

Tan was offered bail of $10,000 on Friday and is expected to be sentenced on April 17. The cases involving Chia, Ang and the other men are still pending.

For being a member of an unlawful assembly, Tan can be jailed for up to two years and fined.

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.