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Loansharks target childcare centre

WRONG TARGET? Workers repainting the walls of the childcare centre in Tanjong Pagar yesterday, after loansharks splashed red paint on its walls in a case of harassment.


    Jan 15, 2016

    Loansharks target childcare centre

    IN WHAT seems to be a case of harassment by loansharks, a childcare centre in Tanjong Pagar was splashed with red paint yesterday.

    A teacher there discovered the vandalism at about 7am yesterday.

    The police were already at the scene.

    Preschool manager Sun Meiyun told Chinese newspaper Shin Min Daily News in a report yesterday that it was the first such incident in about seven years of the centre's operations.

    According to Ms Sun, the police also found a piece of paper on the floor that seemed to be a debt collector's note, with a name and address.

    "The (debtor's) unit also had paint splashed on it, but I think there are no children enrolled in our centre who live there, so we believe it had nothing to do with us," she said.

    Speaking to My Paper yesterday, operations and administrative manager of the preschool chain Ismail Ibrahim said the matter is in the hands of the police.

    "We do not know why it was splashed with paint. It could be a mistaken address," he added.

    He said the centre contacted the town council to remove the paint.

    A staff member at the preschool told My Paper that classes ran as per usual yesterday, though a few parents raised concerns.

    A 57-year-old retiree, who gave her name only as Ms Ni, told Shin Min that she was shocked to see the paint while taking her niece, who is 31/2, to the school yesterday.

    But she added that she has confidence in the school.

    Residents whom Shin Min spoke to condemned the misdeed, saying that young children at the centre would be frightened by it.

    When asked whether security measures will be stepped up, Mr Ismail stressed that the centre is secure and that the incident is an act of mischief.

    "The doors are always locked and no unauthorised persons are allowed to enter," he said, adding that there are closed-circuit television cameras installed inside the centre.

    Ms Sun told Shin Min that it plans to install CCTVs outside its premises.

    Shin Min visited a flat near the preschool where the debtor supposedly lives and found paint splashed there, as well as a letter accusing him of owing $50,000.

    Police told My Paper yesterday that they received a call at about 6.32am yesterday regarding a case of unlicensed moneylending harassment at Cantonment Road.

    Investigations are ongoing.

    The maximum punishment for an enhanced moneylending harassment charge is nine years' jail, a $60,000 fine and 10 strokes of the cane.