Loanshark runner drove off with one cop hanging on to car door; jailed 10 months and fined $90,000


SINGAPORE - A 36-year-old man was helping a loan shark collect an ATM card from a debtor when two police officers asked him to step out of his car. But he drove off with one of them holding onto his car door, a court heard on Monday (Oct 2).

Despite Staff Sergeant Mohamed Azrul Mohd Hanapiah's repeated instructions to Zhuo Weili to stop his car, he continued driving, causing the police officer to lose his balance and fall onto the ground.

Staff Sgt Azrul, who suffered superficial injuries, and his partner, Sergeant Muhammad Yazid Yusri, continued chasing Zhuo's car.

While trying to flee, Zhuo - a Singaporean - slammed his car into the bumper and sides of two nearby cars, including one belonging to motorist Ng Chin Hin. The incident happened on Nov 30 last year.

On Monday, Zhuo was sentenced to 10 months' jail and fined $90,000 or 12 weeks' jail after he admitted to two counts of assisting an unlicensed moneylender and one charge each of causing hurt by doing a rash act, and committing a rash act to endanger the personal safety of others by hitting Mr Ng's car.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Sia Jiazheng said the cost of repair to Mr Ng's car was estimated to be between $2,000 and $3,000 and no restitution has been made to date.

Investigations showed that a man, who is the informant in this case, owed money to an unlicensed moneylender known as Larry. When the informant could not pay his debt, Larry told him to hand over his POSB ATM card, which he agreed to.

But he tipped the police off about this and agreed to cooperate to help apprehend the unlicensed moneylending runner.

DPP Sia said Zhuo became involved as a runner after he could not pay his debts owed to a loanshark known as Dominique. He been working for Dominique since December 2015.

On Nov 29, 2016, Dominique asked Zhuo to collect an ATM card from the informant.

The next evening, Zhuo drove his rented car to Block 326 Clementi Avenue 3 to meet the informant at the carpark.

After the informant had passed the ATM card to Zhuo, he told Staff Sgt Azrul and Sgt Yazid that he had passed the ATM card to Zhuo. The officers searched the carpark and later spotted Zhuo getting into his car.

They tried to stop him but he ignored Staff Sgt Azrul's order, and caused hurt to him by doing a rash act.

The court heard that between March and October 2016, Zhuo helped Dominique in operating his illegal moneylending business by using a United Overseas Bank ATM card to perform electronic fund transfers, cash withdrawals and to check account balances.

He also helped another loanshark named Jackson to withdraw and deposit cash and check account balances from Nov 26 to 29 last year.

The maximum penalty for assisting an unlicensed moneylender is a $300,000 fine, four years' jail and six strokes of the cane.

For causing hurt by doing a rash act, he could have been jailed for up to one year and/or fined up to $5,000, and for committing a rash act, jailed up to six months and/or fined up to $2,500.

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