SINGAPORE - A debtor-turned-harasser was sentenced to five years' corrective training and 12 strokes of the cane on Monday (Nov 30) for loanshark harassment acitivites on behalf of two illegal moneylenders.
Car polisher Mohamed Ashyik Mohamed Shawal, 31, admitted to 10 charges, including one each of assisting in unlicensed moneylending by handing over his ATM card and of drug consumption. He faced a total of 28 charges.
He harassed 22 units over a week-long period in June this year.
The court heard that besides working as a car polisher, he had a sideline cleaning business and hired three workers.
Some time at the end of May, he faced financial difficulties and could not pay his workers. He then borrowed from two loansharks known as Marco and Denzel.
When he defaulted in his repayment of the loans, he worked for Marco to harass debtors such as by splashing paint and securing their main gates with a bicycle chain lock.
He was promised $80 by Marco for splashing paint and writing loanshark graffiti, and $1,000 by Denzel to set fire and write loanshark graffiti for every unit he harassed.
He found the offer tempting and agreed to work for them .
On June 12 - three days before his arrest - he set fire to the main gate of a Toh Guan Road flat and the corridor outside the 12th floor, using lighter fluid. He also defaced the wall of the staircase landing with a marker pen, writing loanshark graffiti.The cost of the total damage was about $3,680.
Investigation showed that the occupant of the unit below had taken a loan from Denzel and the occupant of the unit he harassed was innocent.
On June 9, he burned a piece of paper and placed it at a the main gate of a flat in Boon Lay Drive over a debt owed by a former occupant.
That evening, he set fire to a Woodlands flat after causing damage to an innocent party's main door and defacing the wall of the staircase landing. He also set fire to the corridor outside another unit and placed a debtor note on the window ledge of the unit when the occupant had nothing to do with the loan taken from Denzel.
The court heard that he harassed innocent victims in Serangoon, Admiralty and Tampines estates for Marco between June 12 and 14.
Ashyik has previous convictions for theft, vandalism, robbery and drug-related offences.
Eighteen other charges were taken into consideration during his sentencing.