Man hired to harass debtors jailed for cheating loanshark instead

Wan Ting Koh
·2 min read
Arrested man with handcuffed hands behind back
Man in handcuffs. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — A man engaged by a loanshark to carry out harassment acts in exchange for money formed a plan to cheat the unlicensed moneylender instead.

Muhammad Khairul Ismail, 34, would take a video of the alleged acts of harassment on debtors’ home doors before returning the doors to their original condition. He would then send the video to the loanshark, called “Lucas” in court documents, to deceive him that the acts were done.

Khairul was jailed for 11 days and fined $1,000 on Wednesday (6 June) after he pleaded guilty to one count of cheating and one separate count of gambling using remote communication from December 2019 to February last year.

Two other incidents where Khairul also cheated the loanshark in the same manner was taken into consideration for sentencing.

False video evidence

In November 2019, Khairul came across a job offer by an unlicensed moneylender known to him as “Lucas”. As part of the offer, he was tasked to lock the gates of various debtors in exchange for cash.

Apart from that, Khairul agreed to paste debtor’s notes on their doors, record the acts, and then send the videos to “Lucas” as proof that he had completed his tasks. In exchange, “Lucas” promised to pay him an amount ranging from $100 to $120 for each job that Khairul completed.

Around 10 December 2019, “Lucas” sent instructions to Khairul to lock up a debtor’s unit with a chain. “Lucas” also instructed him what to write in the debtor’s note, which Khairul was supposed to paste on the debtor’s door.

Khairul carried out these instructions on 10 December 2019. He locked the debtor’s gate with two bicycle locks and affixed a debtors note onto one of the locks so as not to damage the gate.

He then took a video of the act before removing the lock and note, leaving the gate in its original form. He then sent the video he had taken to “Lucas”. The loanshark transferred him $120 for the act.

The police were alerted to the case when “Lucas” forwarded the videos to the debtors. “Lucas’” identity has not been established.

Separately, Khairul used a mobile application to gamble between December 2019 and February 2020 by messaging several agents via WhatsApp. He would transfer money to the bank account number given to him by these agents.

He placed bets amounting to at least $1,120.25.

In mitigation, Khairul told the court that he had learned from his mistake and felt remorseful.

“I assure you in court today I will not repeat any of these actions ever again,” he said.

Khairul has appealed against his sentence and is currently out on bail.

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