SINGAPORE: Saddled with debt, a taxi driver became a loanshark runner and ended up slapped with a total of 130 harassment and robbery charges.
Melvin Ong Hwee Ann, 38, was sentenced to nine years’ jail and ordered to be given the maximum of 24 strokes of the cane on Friday, after pleading guilty to 10 counts under the Moneylenders Act and one count of armed robbery.
The remaining 119 charges were taken into consideration.
In July 2012, Ong attempted to rob a woman, who was getting into her car at a basement carpark of Tanglin Mall.
He threatened her with a fruit knife and demanded that she hand over her money.
He also pointed his knife at the woman’s 13—month—old son and demanded that she drive him out of the carpark. Ong fled the scene after noticing a security guard approaching.
On several occasions the following month, Ong defaced many apartment units, while acting on the behalf of unlicensed moneylenders.
The court heard that Ong borrowed money from them to fund his gambling habit, and later agreed to work for them.
His acts of harassment included splashing paint, locking the gates and scribbling on walls.
The offences took place at various blocks of flats, including some in Woodlands, Jurong West and Teck Whye Lane.
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