SINGAPORE: A debt collector who dressed in funeral clothes to harass his victims was sentenced to five weeks' jail on Wednesday (Jan 15).
Peh Chong Wee, 59, ran a debt collecting business known as Guarantee Debts Collection Service.
He was introduced by a co-accused man, 47-year-old Koh Yew Ghee, to a client who wanted a debt collected on behalf of an engineering and construction company in April 2019.
Peh and Koh went to the address in Ang Mo Kio given by their client on the afternoon of May 27 last year to collect the debt, which was purportedly owed by the director of a company there.
A human resource manager at the front desk of the debtor's company heard shouting along the corridor and opened the door.
Peh and Koh went into the office and shouted loudly, banging forcefully on the front desk when told the person they were seeking was not in.
They refused to leave, and Peh lay on the floor at one point, until the manager called the police.
When the police arrived, they advised Peh and Koh to keep the peace and settle the manner amicably, and the pair left the office.
However, they returned a few days later on May 31, 2019. The same human resource manager was at the front desk when she heard a whistling sound and went to check.
She saw Peh and Koh along the corridor outside the office, with Peh dressed in a traditional Chinese funeral outfit.
He carried a banner with the debtor's face printed on it, along with words demanding that he returned their "hard-earned money".
Peh blew a whistle and shouted loudly while walking along the corridor, and Koh took a video of Peh's antics.
Another employee at the office called the police, and Peh and Koh left before they arrived.
Peh was arrested later that day and detained at Woodlands Division.
HE WENT BACK TO DEBTOR'S OFFICE DESPITE COURT ORDER
The next day on Jun 1, 2019, two AETOS auxiliary police officers went to Peh to move him to another cell.
He was handcuffed, with his hands in front of him and taken to another cell, but he stopped in the doorway and asked for his paper cup that had been left behind in the other cell.
The officers told him to wait and that a new cup would be given to him, but Peh insisted on having his cup, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Tay Jia En.
Suddenly, Peh rushed out of the cell and put up a struggle while one of the officers held onto his cuffs.
He pushed the officer against the wall and continued to struggle, with his actions caught on CCTV.
The two officers eventually managed to pin Peh to the ground.
Peh was later released on station bail and offered another man S$200 to take a video.
They went to the same office on Jun 21, 2019, to collect the debt, even though Peh had been issued a court order a week before this prohibiting him from entering or loitering any place outside the debtor's home or office.
The human resource manager saw Peh and another man and remembered that her boss had instructed her to take a video should the accused return.
She began filming as Peh carried banners showing the debtor's face and messages demanding loan repayment.
There were also pieces of paper pasted on the front and back of Peh's shirt showing the debtor's face. He paraded around the corridor for half a minute, and the manager called the police again.
Peh pleaded guilty on Wednesday to three counts of using threatening behaviour under the Protection from Harassment Act, and a fourth charge of using criminal force on an auxiliary police officer.
Five other charges were taken into consideration for sentencing.
These charges state that Peh rode a bicycle with two large poles bearing photos of the debtor's face and incense paper to demand he pay the debt.
To get the money back, Peh also paraded in funeral clothes on several occasions outside the debtor's office, and also held a lantern for funerals and banners with the debtor's face on them at a condominium.
Koh faces charges for his involvement and is set to plead guilty on Jan 30.