Loan shark harasser went 'island-wide'

Driven by desperation to pay his traffic fines, a delivery attendant worked for an illegal moneylender and went on an island-wide harassment spree with an accomplice.

Over a week in May, Ivan Chia Kian Boon, 22, along with an accomplice, harassed flat dwellers by splashing paint on the doors of their homes and defacing staircase landings. They also used bicycle chains to lock the gates of some units.

For his offences, committed in areas such as Woodlands, Pasir Ris, Boon Lay and Telok Blangah, Chia was sentenced to 37 months' jail and 15 strokes of the cane on Thursday.

He pleaded guilty to five counts of loan shark harassment together with his accomplice, Derance Tan Hwee Peng, 25, and one count of lying to the police.

Judge Marvin Bay noted that Chia was "amateurish" while he was conducting his harassment as he had failed to spot the presence of closed-circuit television units in some areas.

"Nevertheless, it is clear to this court that you perpetrated an island-wide reign of terror by your hardcore harassment tactics which actually included using bicycle locks on the doors of the properties harassed, placing inhabitants in fear and danger," he said.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Stephen Yeo Zhi Yuan said Chia's crime spree began when he asked Tan if he could work with him as a harasser for a loan shark as he needed money to pay his traffic fines. To commit their offences, the two accused obtained a list of addresses targeted for harassment from both the loan shark and another person.

They were arrested on May 28 while on their way to a block of flats in Pasir Ris.

In mitigation, Chia's lawyer said her client was swayed into committing the offences by Tan, who had convinced him that the harassing assignments from the loan shark were very lucrative.

Tan was earlier sentenced to 39 months' jail and 18 strokes of the cane for similar offences.

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