SINGAPORE – A jobless man who helped a licensed debt collector harass a debtor at his workplace was on Thursday (13 August) jailed for three days.
Koh Yew Ghee, 48, had filmed his friend Peh Chong Wee, 59, the sole proprietor of Guarantee Debts Collection Service, shouting loudly and blowing a whistle while dressed in a traditional Chinese funeral outfit and carrying a banner with the debtor’s face.
At the State Courts on Thursday, Koh pleaded guilty to two out of four charges of causing harassment by using threatening behaviour.
In sentencing, District Judge Marvin Bay noted that Koh was “an accessory to a histrionic performance by the co-accused who had been clad in traditional Chinese mourning garb, and performed actions calculated to embarrass and harass the debtor around the premises of an office environment”.
The judge added, “There is a need to ensure that persons acting at the behest of debt collection agencies be made mindful to always act within the framework allowed by law, and not descend to thuggish conduct and cause public disquiet by their pressure tactics.”
About the case
In April last year, Koh introduced a client to Peh. On 27 May, both men went to the debtor’s work address in Ang Mo Kio Avenue to collect the debt.
The company’s HR manager heard shouting along the corridor and opened the door. Koh and Peh entered, and Peh shouted for the debtor. Koh helped to translate what Peh said in Mandarin into English and also shouted loudly.
When the manager said the debtor wasn’t in, Peh banged on the front desk forcefully. The manager asked them to leave, but Peh instead lay down on the floor.
The manager then called the police for help. Officers advised the duo to keep the peace and settle the matter amicably, and Koh and Peh then left.
Four days later, the two men returned. This time, the manager heard a whistling sound and stepped out of the office to see Koh and Peh.
Peh was dressed in a traditional Chinese funeral outfit and carried a banner with the debtor’s face printed on it. The words on the banner demanded that the debtor return the money he owed. Peh was also blowing a whistle and shouted loudly while walking along the corridor.
Koh recorded a video of Peh’s antics, which attracted a commotion outside the debtor’s office.
A colleague called the police, but Koh and Peh left before officers arrived.
For each of his proceeded harassment charges, Koh could have been fined up to $5,000 and also jailed up to six months.
Meanwhile, Peh was jailed for five weeks for his offences in January.
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