Suspected loan-shark runners charged over arson, vandalism

Mohamed Fauzi Abdul Rahman (front) and Mohammad Zahan Saad being taken by police officers on Friday to a Woodlands flat, where they allegedly burned the front door and a pair of slippers outside the apartment.
Mohamed Fauzi Abdul Rahman (front) and Mohammad Zahan Saad being taken by police officers on Friday to a Woodlands flat, where they allegedly burned the front door and a pair of slippers outside the apartment.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

Two friends in dire need of money allegedly turned to crime for a means of income.

Mohammad Zahan Saad, 38, and Mohamed Fauzi Abdul Rahman, 27, were in financial difficulties when they were recruited by a loan shark through social media, according to information from the police.

Their job was to commit arson and vandalism at two homes, in Tampines and Woodlands, for which they were promised $800 per unit.

Last Sunday morning, they allegedly targeted the flat in Tampines first, then went to the other in Woodlands, where they were said to have burned the front door and a pair of slippers outside the apartment.

The two were also said to have spray-painted the phrase "Owe $ Pay $" to harass their victim to pay the amount owed to the loan shark.

The police were alerted at 8am and the two men were identified from footage on the police security camera at the Woodlands block.

On Tuesday, they were arrested at their respective homes by officers from the Criminal Investigation Department and were charged under the Moneylenders Act.

The police also arrested an alleged accomplice. The anonymous mastermind who hired the men remains at large.

The two alleged culprits were escorted by police to the scene of the crime in Woodlands on Friday.

The home owner, a 55-year-old housewife who wanted to be named only as Munah, said it was a case of mistaken identity as no one in her family had taken any loans.

Members of the public are advised to stay away from loan sharks and not work with or assist them in any way. They can call the police on 999, or the hotline on 1800-924-5664 if they suspect or know of anyone who could be involved in loan-sharking activities.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 03, 2019, with the headline 'Suspected loan-shark runners charged over arson, vandalism'. Print Edition | Subscribe