SINGAPORE - A loan shark runner threatened innocent victims into paying bogus debts and collected $22,000 from them within four months.
In a case that the prosecution pointed out as "unprecedented", Goh Sze Liang, 25, was jailed on Tuesday for four years. He was also fined $30,000.
He had pleaded guilty to cheating and assisting in an unlicensed money-lending business.
A district court heard that he had cheated 12 victims and attempted to cheat a further 137 people between January and April this year.
His crime spree began after he approached a loan shark known to him as Edwin in Thailand last year for a job. He did so as he had to clear $60,000 of gambling losses to another loan shark named Ricky, whom Edwin is acquainted with.
Edwin gave Goh a thumb drive which the loan shark said contained a database of debtors' personal particulars and advised him to work with Ricky when he returned to Singapore.
The names, identity card numbers and addresses of debtors were listed in the database but there were also names and identity card numbers of individuals who had not borrowed any money.
Goh, who helped out in his grandfather's furniture making business, went to work as a runner in January. He called debtors and demanded payment.