Man accused of arson faces 26 more charges

Mohamed Ashyik Mohamed Shawal is accused of setting fire to other HDB flats as well.
Mohamed Ashyik Mohamed Shawal is accused of setting fire to other HDB flats as well.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

A MAN who has been accused of torching the home of an innocent person, over a loan taken by someone living a floor below, faced 26 more charges yesterday.

Last week, Mohamed Ashyik Mohamed Shawal, 31, was charged with setting fire to the exterior of a flat in Toh Guan Road in Jurong East on behalf of a loan shark.

Yesterday, he was slapped with 26 more charges, including three of handing over his bank ATM cards to a loan shark.

New charges include four accusing him of setting fire to Housing Board units. One of them was a unit on the same floor as the Toh Guan Road flat in last week's case.

While acting for an unlicensed moneylender called Denzel, he allegedly burned some paper to set fire to a flat in Boon Lay Drive on June 9.

That evening, he allegedly went to set fire to the corridor window of a Woodlands Avenue 1 flat of an innocent occupant, and placed a debtor note on the ledge of its sliding window. Later the same evening, he allegedly set fire to a flat in Woodlands Drive 44 and scribbled on the lift landing wall.

He also faces another charge of attempting to set fire to a flat in Woodlands Circle on June 13. He allegedly used an indelible red marker to draw graffiti on the wall as well.

Among the new charges are that he acted on behalf of another loan shark when he not only used indelible markers to draw graffiti but also used bicycle chain locks to secure the main gates of nine units at various locations between June 11 and 14.

He is also accused of splashing paint on the doors and gates of four homes.

More charges may be tendered against Ashyik, who was offered bail of $80,000.

The case will be mentioned again on July 22.

If convicted of loan shark harassment, he could be jailed for up to five years, fined up to $50,000 and given up to six strokes of the cane.

If convicted of helping an unlicensed moneylender, he could be fined between $30,000 and $300,000 and jailed for up to four years.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 25, 2015, with the headline 'Man accused of arson faces 26 more charges'. Print Edition | Subscribe