SINGAPORE - Two friends in dire need of money turned to crime for a means of income. Mohammad Zahan Saad, 38, and Mohamed Fauzi Abdul Rahman, 27, were in financial difficulty when they were recruited by a loan shark online through social media, according to information from the police.
The job was to commit arson and vandalism at two homes, in Tampines and Woodlands, for which they were promised $800 per unit.
On Sunday morning (Feb 24), they targeted the flat in Tampines first and then went on to the other in Woodlands, where they allegedly burned the front door and incinerated a pair of slippers left outside the apartment. The two are also said to have spray-painted the phrase "Owe $ Pay $" to harass their victim to pay the amount owed to the loan shark.
However, the police were alerted of this transgression at 8am and the two men were soon identified from footage on the police security camera present at the housing block in Woodlands.
On Tuesday (Feb 26), they were arrested at their respective homes by officers from the Criminal Investigation Department and charged under the Moneylenders Act.
The police also arrested another accomplice, who is currently assisting with investigations.
The anonymous mastermind who hired the men remains at large.
The two alleged culprits were escorted back to the scene of the crime in Woodlands on Friday by police officers and questioned on the details of the incident. They were also identified to the home owner, a 55-year-old housewife who wanted only to be named as Munah.
Ms Munah, who lives in the flat with her husband, son and daughter, recounted her experience, saying that she discovered the damage to her property at about 8am on Sunday when she went outside to water the plants.
"When I opened the door, I was shocked. I never expected this to happen to me and my family," she said.
Her son, aged 32, a policeman himself, contacted the police and made a report. The housewife said it was a case of mistaken identity, as no one in their family had taken any loans.
Members of the public are advised to stay away from loan sharks and not to work with or assist them in any way. The public can call the Police at 999 or the hotline at 1800-924-5664 if they suspect or know of anyone who could be involved in loan-sharking activities.