34-year-old Muhammad Khairul Ismail on Wednesday (7 January) plead guilty to one count of cheating and an unrelated charge of online betting.
He was sentenced to 11 days in jail for the cheating. He will also serve another four days in jail for not paying the S$1,000 fine he received on the gambling offence.
The cheating charges relates to his plan to deceive an unlicensed moneylender who hired Khairul to harass debtors by chaining up their gates.
Khairul, instead, found a way to get payment from the moneylender without actually completing the job. What he did was chain the debtors’ gates, record a video to demonstrate having done so for the purpose of showing the loan shark, and then remove the chains.
Khairul is out on S$15,000 bail and is appealing his sentence.
Khairul had reached out to the moneylender, known only as “Lucas”, upon seeing a job offer in November 2019, the Court heard.
The job was to lock up the gates of people who owed Lucas money, paste a note on their doors, record the acts, and send the videos to Lucas as proof of the job done.
Khairul was promised S$100 to S$120 for each completed job, based on messages exchanged between the two on WhatsApp.
However, in December 2019 upon instructions from the loan shark, Khairul proceeded to a debtor’s house and locked the gate with two bicycle locks.
He then pasted a note on one of the locks instead of the gate to avoid potentially damaging the gate. He then recorded the whole incident before removing the locks and leaving the gate unscratched.
After sending the video to the loan shark, he was paid S$120 for the job.
The court heard of two other similar incidents, both of which were taken into consideration during sentencing.
According to reports, police were alerted to the case after Lucas forwarded the videos to debtors. However, it is noted that Lucas’ identity remains a mystery.
This unusual case has caught the ire of many netizens who were baffled by the fact that Khairul was even charged with cheating as they pointed out that what he did was not really a crime as he honoured the agreement.
On TODAY’s Facebook page, netizens highlighted that Khairul had taken care to not to harm any of the debtors or their property.
Others wondered how it is even possible for someone to be charged with cheating an illegal moneylender since the moneylender is the one breaking the law.
Many also questioned whether the loan shark himself would be brought to justice for his crimes, and how the police managed to nab Khairul but not the big boss himself.
Other asked how anyone had even accused Khairul of cheating when the victim — the loan shark himself — could not be found.