Student, 16, helped ex-schoolmate commit loan shark offences after being threatened

SINGAPORE - A chance meeting between two former schoolmates took an illegal twist after one of them revealed he was a loan shark runner and threatened to splash paint at the other's home if the other did not come along on a harrassment run.

Together with a female accomplice, Josiah Chua Weijie, 16, ended up keeping a lookout on two separate occasions as Dave Kek Jun Qi, 18, splashed red paint outside two HDB flats and vandalised the staircase landings nearby.

On Thursday, Josiah pleaded guilty to helping his former senior commit an offence under the Moneylenders Act on Feb 14. He also admitted to one similar offence, committed the next day, as well as an unrelated count of theft in dwelling. Both of these will be taken into consideration when he is sentenced on Aug 28.

The court heard that while heading home on the evening of Feb 13, Josiah bumped into Dave, who said he was working as a loan shark runner and planned to go to two places in the Pasir Ris area later that evening to help a loan shark harass residents.

When Josiah turned down Dave's request to go along, Dave angrily grabbed his shirt and threatened to splash paint at his home if he still refused.

Josiah agreed and joined Dave and their third accomplice later that night, and they searched unsuccessfully for paint shops in Pasir Ris. Josiah returned home while the other two left for Mustafa Centre to buy the paint.

All three met again at about 2am the next day and headed to a block of flats along Pasir Ris Drive 1. This was where Josiah and the girl, 13, kept a lookout while Dave vandalised the flats and staircase landings on the second floor.

The court called for a report on Josiah's suitability for probation. The case against Dave is still pending, while it is understood the girl was not charged in court. The identity of the unlicensed moneylender involved is yet to be established.

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