SINGAPORE - Volunteers setting up tables and chairs for Chua Chu Kang GRC MP Alex Yam's weekly Meet-the-People Session earlier this week were greeted by an unpleasant find.
A bag of excrement had been left at the back door of a People's Action Party (PAP) branch office in Yew Tee on Monday, days after Mr Yam issued a stern warning to loan sharks and runners operating in the neighbourhood.
The incident came to light after he wrote about it in a Facebook post on Thursday night.
Mr Yam told The Straits Times on Friday: "I do not at this point want to jump to any conclusions, whether it was mere coincidence or an actual act of mischief in response to my message.
"But if it is, I remain consistent, that we will do whatever it takes to keep our town safe for our residents."
Asked what was in the bag, he replied coyly that it "starts with 'f' and rhymes with species".
Two days before the incident, he had told loan sharks and their runners on his Facebook page: "You threaten my residents, means you threaten me and my 500 volunteers. I don't like threats and we certainly don't take them lying down."
This was in response to loan sharks sending a spate of letters to random units in one of the blocks in his ward.
Mr Yam has been spearheading increased efforts to deal with loan-sharking activity, including speeding up the installation schedule for security cameras at void decks in Chua Chu Kang.
Cameras will continue to be installed where necessary, said Mr Yam yesterday.
Two training sessions for residents and volunteers, as well as an anti-loan-sharking exhibition, will be held next year.
MPs who are also combating loan sharks in their wards told The Straits Times that they had neither encountered nor heard of similar incidents in which party locations were targeted.
Mountbatten MP Lim Biow Chuan said: "It's quite unusual for loan sharks to try and threaten us. They won't want to cross the authorities. (This is) assuming it's a loan shark - it may be someone taking advantage of the situation."
Loan sharks tend to resort to splashing paint and writing on walls as a harassment tactic, he added, rather than leaving excrement. Holland-Bukit Timah GRC MP Liang Eng Hwa said the incident in Yew Tee seemed isolated.
His experience in fighting loan sharks in Bukit Panjang has been the opposite: "Each time when we mobilise, usually the loan sharks will back off a bit. They can feel it."
Reported cases of unlicensed moneylending and related harassment have been on the decline since 2010.
There were 4,608 such cases from January to June this year, according to the latest figures in a written parliamentary reply in October. This was a 9.5 per cent drop from the 5,091 cases in the same period last year.
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