The great Sim Lim sprint

The great Sim Lim sprint

Three men dashed out, hiding their faces as soon as the shutters of a shop at Sim Lim Square opened yesterday afternoon.

They weren't fleeing from the police.

Instead, in an indication of their shame, these salesmen were wilting under the glare of publicity.

Faced with a squad of reporters and photographers outside the shop, they went from salesmen, known for aggressive sales tactics, to publicity-shy innocents.

Believed to be working at mobile phone shop Mobile Apps on the first storey, the men had been behind the shutters during a police raid.

The media had been waiting for them for nearly two hours after being alerted to a surprise raid at two shops - Mobile Apps (#01-50) and another mobile phone shop, Gadget Terminal (#02-80).

As soon as the shutters rolled up after the raid, the three men from Mobile Apps ran off in different directions.

Two headed towards Albert Street, while the third dashed towards Rochor Canal Road.

One of the men, who covered his face with the hood of his sweater, ran into a lift at Burlington Square next door.

Ten minutes before they fled, plain-clothes policemen were seen carting out two large boxes and a small one from the shop.

The police had spent nearly two hours inside Mobile Apps, which pulled down its shutters at about 12.45pm.

Although the shop is registered under the name Mobile Apps, its signboard reads De.Mac Gadget.

Gadget Terminal was raided next, without much drama.

The shop assistants were not in the shop when the police carted away three big boxes and two small ones at about 3.30pm.

The police confirmed that they had begun investigations into the two mobile phone retailers at Sim Lim Square, following reports lodged against them.

The nature of the complaints are not known.

A police spokesman added: "It is inappropriate to comment further as investigations are ongoing."

Both shops were on the alert list issued by the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) and the Singapore Tourism Board for having the most number of customer complaints.

Gadget Terminal was at the top of the list, with 14 complaints over the past three months.

Mobile Apps had seven complaints.

According to Case, since January, there have been four complaints from local customers against Mobile Apps and nine against Gadget Terminal.

Most of the complaints involved customers being charged extra fees for warranty or phone unlocking after signing the contract. A small portion of complaints also involved defective goods, said a Case spokesman.

This is the second time that police have taken action at Sim Lim Square, following the raid on errant retailer Jover Chew's shop Mobile Air last month.

Plain-clothes policemen were seen removing electronic gadgets such as tablets and phones, and documents from Mobile Air.

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