Workers attempting to scrub off the paint splashed at the Modern Montessori International on the third floor at The Pinnacle@ Duxton on Jan 14, 2016. PHOTO: SHIN MIN

SINGAPORE – A Thai national who splashed red paint on a pre-school where a debtor’s children had attended was sentenced to 15 months’ jail and three strokes of the cane on Wednesday (March 15).

Samroeng Sompop, 33, left the same evening by taxi after completing the loan shark harassment job at Modern Montessori International (MMI) pre-school on the third-level of a block at The Pinnacle@Duxton on Jan 13 last year.

He pleaded guilty to causing annoyance to the childcare centre staff with Lee Tiow Kiong, 56, while acting on behalf of an unlicensed moneylender known as Kelvin in connection with a loan taken by the debtor.

About 30 debtor’s notes with “O$P$” written on them were found on the floor nearby. The notes contained the names of the debtor and his family as well as their home address at one of the seven blocks at the residential complex.

Two “Super Big Gulp” cups stained with red paint and wrapped in a plastic bag were found on the floor.

Investigations showed that the debtor had taken a loan from a loan shark, known as Ah Siao, in August 2015 and had subsequently defaulted on payments.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Amanda Sum said due to the harassment from unlicensed moneylenders at home and at his workplace from late September 2015, the debtor moved out and transferred his two children to another childcare centre.

Sompop was arrested at Changi Airport on Feb 16 this year after his identity was established.

Police had arrested Lee for a separate offence of loan shark harassment in March last year.

Lee revealed during investigations that he had also committed the loan shark harassment at the MMI pre-school with Sompop by driving him there.

The court heard that Sompop had come to Singapore on Jan 13 2016 on an all-expense paid trip sponsored by a person called Max, whom he knew from Thailand.

Lee had picked him up that day from the hotel and told him that he would give him 20,000 baht (S$802) to commit harassment at the pre-school.

After Sompop completed the job, Lee drove him to Queen Street where he took a taxi to Johor Baru, and eventually made his way back to Thailand.

Lee has been dealt with.

The maximum penalty for unlicensed money-lending harassment is five years’ jail, a $50,000 fine and six strokes of the cane.

-Straits Times