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    Nov 11, 2014

    Man who helped scammed tourist gets weird aid requests

    SOME 50 supposed victims of cheating have requested aid from a US$12,000 (S$15,500) fund that was originally raised to help a Vietnamese tourist scammed by a Sim Lim Square store last week.

    But some of the requests - such as to buy a baby chair and obtain compensation for car repairs - are highly suspect, going by what Singaporean fund-raiser Gabriel Kang, 37, told Lianhe Wanbao yesterday.

    Mr Kang, an entrepreneur, started an online campaign on crowdfunding site Indiegogo last Tuesday to raise funds to help Vietnamese factory worker Pham Van Thoai get a new iPhone 6 and buy him gifts.

    Mr Pham was scammed by Sim Lim Square mobile-phone store Mobile Air on Nov 3 when he tried to buy the Apple handset. He was reduced to tears as he begged the shop to return his money.

    However, he eventually declined the iPhone gift and accepted only local food items that Mr Kang had brought.

    The entrepreneur then decided to use the remaining funds to help other scam victims. In the past few days, he has received e-mail appeals from about 50 people. But some requests were strange.

    "One person had recently sent a car for servicing but the car broke down a month later. The person suspected a scam by the car-servicing company and wanted to get $5,000 from me to cover the losses," said Mr Kang.

    In another request, a single mother said she wanted to buy a baby chair for her child and hoped he could help fund it.

    A person who claimed to be 85 and from Austria said he was cheated by a local pharmaceutical company and wanted to get his investment capital back.

    Another claimed he had done business in Hong Kong and had been cheated by a mysterious man from China. He hoped Mr Kang could help him from abroad.

    Yet another person said he had bought three mobile phones from an online forum, but did not receive his goods.

    Of the 50 requests, Mr Kang said only 10 seemed to be genuine. "I'll ask the victims to provide receipts, incident reports and other documents to be certain that they were scammed," he said.

    He said the money initially raised for Mr Pham would be distributed only to people who had been cheated by mobile-phone shops.

    With regard to the iPhone 6 that was meant for Mr Pham, Mr Kang said he is going through Facebook to look for buyers. The proceeds will be given to scam victims or a Vietnamese charity designated by Mr Pham.

    Meanwhile, an online group which divulged the personal details of Jover Chew, the disgraced owner of Mobile Air, said its PayPal account had been suspended, The Straits Times reported yesterday.

    The group, SMRT Ltd (Feedback), said in a Facebook post on Saturday that the account was suspended due to "suspicious activity".

    PayPal accounts are usually used to make or receive payments online.

    The group was set up in 2011 and had previously written satirical posts on public-transport breakdowns and disruptions.