Sim Lim salesman jailed: He preyed on foreigners

Sim Lim salesman jailed: He preyed on foreigners
Justin Chew Chee Kin, an employee at electronics shop Gadget Terminal, leaving the State Courts after putting up bail.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

Jover Chew isn't the only scourge of Sim Lim Square customers.

A salesman of another electronics shop in the mall was punished for cheating customers yesterday.

Justin Chew Chee Kin, 36, who worked for the now-closed Gadget Terminal, was jailed seven months for cheating two walk-in customers of $503.

Justin Chew was the first Gadget Terminal employee to be dealt with.

His former employer, Chung Choon Cheik, 33, and fellow salesmen, Tan Wei Ping, 40, Wilson Lim Weisheng, 30, and Lin Facai, 32, have their cases pending.

Gadget Terminal was set up in August 2013 and was owned by Chung's wife, even though she did not have any part in the business.

The shop was managed by Chung, who hired Justin Chew in April 2014.

They targeted walk-in customers and would entice them by offering mobile devices at attractive prices.

After the customer paid for the product, the salesman would get the person to sign a customer service agreement form without explaining its contents.

The salesman would then demand more money for an in-house warranty.

Should the customer refuse to pay the additional amount, the salesman would offer the customer two choices: Leave with a cheaper mobile phone, or cancel the transaction and forfeit part of the sum already paid as a cancellation fee.

On Sept 30, 2014, Justin Chew quoted a customer $300 for an Apple iPhone 4S, and then demanded another $480 for the warranty.

The following month, he offered a Xiaomi Mi 4 at $380 to another customer.

After the customer signed an agreement form, Chew told him that the total cost for the phone and warranty was $980.

Court papers said both victims agreed to forfeit $215 and $288 respectively and left the shop without any phone.

They have yet to get back their money.

Gadget Terminal was raided by police in December 2014 and the five accused were charged in court last October.

Yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Muhammad Faizal said both of Justin Chew's victims were vulnerable as they are foreign nationals who were not proficient in English.

He added the salesman did not back down even when the police were called in on both instances, and continued to use the signed form as leverage.

Justin Chew, who was unrepresented, pleaded for leniency, adding in mitigation that he has a family to feed and bills to pay.

District Judge Jasvender Kaur said Justin Chew had carried out a despicable deception on unsuspecting customers.

After sentencing, Justin Chew told the court he only pocketed about $40 from the two instances, only for Judge Kaur to tell him the court had already passed sentence.

The maximum punishment for cheating is 10 years' jail and a fine.

This is the second set of Sim Lim Square staff to appear before the court after former Mobile Air boss Jover Chew and four of his former employees were jailed last year.

This article was first published on January 6, 2016.
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