S'pore family pestered by victims of Bangkok scam

S'pore family pestered by victims of Bangkok scam

When he bought a three-room flat at Stirling Road in 2012, he never expected to have a stream of strangers knocking on his door.

All of them were victims of a scam in Bangkok.

And they were looking for a Mr Than Soon Choi, whom they said had conned them in Thailand.

Mr Septian Hartono, an Indonesian and Singapore permanent resident, 29, told The New Paper that the first incident was in November 2012.

Said the researcher at SingHealth: "A couple had come to my flat asking for Mr Than, saying that he had cheated them of his money.

"My wife and I were very confused as we didn't know who Mr Than was."

More people would come looking for Mr Than, and the stories were always the same.

The victims had encountered a Mr Than in Bangkok, where he would ask to borrow money.

Mr Than would claim that he and his wife were robbed and needed money to return to Singapore.

As proof, the con man would show his passport and identity card.

He told them they could reach him at the address on his IC or on his mobile phone.

It could not be verified if the IC and passport were authentic and belonged to Mr Than.

Out of sympathy, the victims would lend Mr Than around $200, only to discover that the mobile phone number he gave to them is not in use.

ONLINE FORUMS

Such stories have been shared on online forums since 2006.

Last Monday, a woman also shared her experience on Facebook.

Mr Hartono lives in the flat with his wife, mother-in-law and five-month-old child. He has been living in Singapore for 11 years.

He said he has accompanied some of the victims to the police station, but the police were unable to help as the cases occurred in Bangkok.

"I felt bad for them. If you're someone who's willing to lend money to a stranger, you definitely have a good heart," he said.

Mr Hartono bought the flat through the owner's agent.

He said: "We met the woman who was selling the flat only when we signed the agreement at the HDB office."

Mr Hartono told TNP that he would occasionally receive letters addressed to the previous owners of the flat.

The surnames on the letters had matched Mr Than's. (See report, right).

When asked if he has encountered angry victims, Mr Hartono said all of them have been civil.

He said: "We used to have people coming once a month early last year, but none of them were angry or violent...

"I think they felt bad for us as well, as my family is affected. But we have a kid, so I am worried that the next person who comes to look for Mr Than won't be as friendly as the rest."

- Additional reporting by Elizabeth Law

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