Security fears? Smelly cash scares me more

Security fears? Smelly cash scares me more
WHAT A PONG! Mr Rafeeq, owner of Clifford Gems & Money Exchange, once had an elderly customer who exchanged a stack of American notes which were so old and rotten that they had turned yellow. He said they smelled "like s***."

SINGAPORE - From afar, their muscular build suggests that they are not to be trifled with.

But peel away their clothes and instead of muscles, you'll find wads of cash carefully placed to prevent any unnatural bulges.

It's one of the methods that money changers use when transporting large amounts of cash, said Mohamed Rafeeq, owner of Clifford Gems & Money Exchange at Raffles City shopping centre.

"I shouldn't say more than that, it gives bad people ideas," added the 49-year-old.

On Wednesday, The New Paper reported that a money changer had been robbed in Aljunied Crescent by men wearing ski masks. A total of $600,000 was taken in the five-minute job.

Police arrested a male suspect on Friday. He was charged in court on Saturday.

The incident has shaken money changers here and serves as an overdue reminder of the risks that they go through, said Mr Rafeeq, who is also secretary of the Money Changers Association Singapore, which has more than 100 members here.

He warned: "We need to be vigilant. We've become complacent because most money changers think that Singapore is safe and secure.

"Now, everyone must open his eyes properly."

Besides hiding the cash, Mr Rafeeq revealed that his couriers have a buddy system so that they can look out for each other.

They also drive along the busiest roads after collecting the money, so that they will not be alone, never mind traffic jams.

Back at the shop, Mr Rafeeq waits nervously for them to return.

Each time, he receives two phone calls: one when his couriers leave the collection point at the bank, and the other after they arrive.

He has two insurance policies, too.

One policy covers incidents at the shop while the other is tailored specially for transporting money.

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