Update: Over $14,000 raised for Vietnamese tourist scammed in Sim Lim Square

Update: Over $14,000 raised for Vietnamese tourist scammed in Sim Lim Square

SINGAPORE - A crowd-funding effort initiated by Singaporean Mr Gabriel Kang has raised over $14,000 as of noon on Thursday for Pham Van Thoai, the Vietnamese tourist who was scammed by electronics store Mobile Air in Sim Lim Square while purchasing an iPhone 6 on Nov 3.

With the raised funds, Mr Kang intends to purchase a 128GB iPhone 6, and put together a goodie bag which may include local delicacies bak kwa, kaya jam and spice packs, to send to the traumatised tourist as a gesture of goodwill. Mr Pham has since left Singapore.

On his crowd-funding page on Indiegogo, Mr Kang wrote: "We are not a nation of thieves and cheats."

He also said: "I feel that Mr Pham was dealt a great injustice by the legal system and while we cannot undo those traumatic and humiliating scenes he has had to endure, we can try to make things right. Let's give the man an iPhone 6!"

A video of Mr Pham kneeling down and begging Mobile Air's staff for a refund has circulated widely on social media websites.

According to a report in Lianhe Zaobao, the man is a factory worker who earns $200 a month. He saved up for months to buy an iPhone 6 as a birthday present for his girlfriend.

The Chinese daily reported that Mr Pham paid $950 for the phone at the store, but was duped into buying a warranty package which cost him another $1,500.

He was not allowed to leave with the phone unless he paid the additional charges.

Mr Pham only managed to get a partial refund of $400 after his girlfriend called the police and Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE) for assistance.

There has been a recent slew of complaints against the unscrupulous business practices at some of the stores in Sim Lim Square.

minlee@sph.com.sg

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