Four staff members of a Sim Lim Square mobile phone shop that gained notoriety over the bullying of a Vietnamese tourist have decided to engage lawyers instead of pleading guilty.
They had previously indicated that they would plead guilty to cheating, but now Kam Kok Keong, 31, Lim Hong Ching, 33, and Kelvin Lim Zhi Wei, 32, are looking to hire a lawyer.
The fourth employee of the now-defunct Mobile Air, Koh Guan Seng, 38, has already hired a lawyer to reduce his charges.
Jover Chew, 33, owner of Mobile Air, is facing charges of cheating and criminal intimidation.
Last year, Mobile Air gained international notoriety after a video showed Vietnamese tourist Pham Van Thoai kneeling at the shop after buying an iPhone 6.
Mr Thoai claimed that he had been quoted a price of $950 for an iPhone 6, but was later asked to fork out an additional $1,500 for a warranty.
Chew also came under fire for refunding a Chinese national $1,010 in coins last October.
The video went viral and prompted a wave of changes at Sim Lim Square, as well as proposed changes to strengthen consumer protection here.
All five men were arrested on May 27 and charged two days later. Koh faces 15 counts of cheating involving $9,789; Kam was charged with eight counts involving $3,710; Lim Hong Ching faces two counts of cheating involving $1,600; and Kelvin Lim was charged with one count involving $330.
Chew, who has a lawyer, was charged with cheating 25 people, and the total amount involved was $14,449. He was also charged with criminal intimidation, for threatening to have a victim's work permit revoked if he did not pay $600.
Yesterday, Koh told the judge that he had engaged lawyer Edmund Wong to reduce his charges.
When District Judge Siva Shanmugam asked Kam why he did not hire a lawyer previously, he said it was because he was raising money.
Both Koh and Kam are out on bail of $20,000 each.
Both Lim Hong Ching and Kelvin Lim also said they wanted to hire lawyers and are out on bail of $10,000 each.
Mr Thoai and the woman were not among those named in the charges against Chew.
For each cheating offence, the five of them face up to 10 years' jail and a fine. If convicted of criminal intimidation, Chew also faces up to two years' jail and/or a fine.
This article was first published on June 20, 2015.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.