How Netizens Taught An 'Evil' Singaporean Shop A Lesson For Cheating This Man

This is why you shouldn't mess around with the Internet. All your questions answered in our FAQ below.

Cover image via

[UPDATE] Conned Vietnamese Will Only Accept USD440 Out Of USD11,512 Donated To Him

Image via Indiegogo

A total of USD11,519 has been raised for Mr Pham, the Vietnamese who got conned by Mobile Air. However, he will only accept what was lost to him.

"I lost SGD550. So I will accept only SGD550 donated by kind people. Nothing more. I'm grateful for all your kindness but I do not want to take more than what I've lost."

By 9am on Thursday, almost US$10,000 (S$12,938) has been raised for a Vietnamese tourist who came here on a holiday and left feeling cheated by a mobile phone shop in Sim Lim Square. A campaign was started on crowdfunding site Indiegogo on Nov 4 to raise funds for factory worker Pham Van Thoai, 28, who went to Mobile Air to buy an iPhone 6 for his girlfriend. The story of how he knelt, cried and begged staff for a refund went viral, prompting Singaporean Gabriel Kang to start the project. Mr Pham lost $550 to the shop, and left without a phone.

While offers of help have been growing by the minute, Mr Pham was quoted in Lianhe Zaobao on Nov 6 saying that he has accepted $550 from a businessman, and bought a phone with it. He said he will not be accepting any more help. "I lost $550. So I will accept only $550 donated by kind people. Nothing more. I'm grateful for all your kindness but I do not want to take more than what I've lost," Mr Pham told Lianhe Zaobao.

How it all started: On 5 Nov 2014, people were sharing news on social media about a mobile shop in Singapore that made a few mean moves on its customers

Image via Facebook

"What? We're so used to hearing about bad customer service. What makes this case any different?"

Yes that's true, but there were two things that this particular shop did that takes nastiness to the next level. Firstly, Mobile Air (the shop in question) refunded a Chinese tourist in coins worth RM2,611. That's not cool.

A woman who bought an over-priced phone at Sim Lim Square demanded a refund and was given a bag full of $1,010 coins. The incident happened on Tuesday afternoon, at 2pm. The woman, who is known as Miss Zhou, had bought an iPhone 6 Plus for $1,600. Later on, she was shocked to find out that the shop demanded that she pay another $2,400 for two years of insurance.

Subsequently, the shop was only willing to give her a $1,000 refund. Miss Zhou decided to go to the Small Claims Tribunal, who then ordered the shop to refund Miss Zhou of $1,010. However, when Miss Zhou went to collect her refund, she was given the money in a bag full of coins. Later, the bag was thrown onto the floor. It was not known who did it. While Miss Zhou was picking up her coins, the shop staff embarrassed her by making nasty remarks against her.

That's not all. A few days later, the infamous shop made headlines again after a Vietnamese tourist had to beg on his knees for a refund on an iPhone 6 that he bought. It took him a few months to save the money but the staff just laughed at him.

A Vietnamese tourist walked away from Sim Lim Square poorer by two months' salary, and without the iPhone 6 he had hoped to get for his girlfriend. The incident is the latest dispute involving a mobile phone shop that made headlines earlier after it reportedly refunded a customer in coins. Mr Pham Van Thoai, a factory worker, was so desperate he knelt down to beg the shop employees to return his hard-earned cash, but only got refunded less than half of what he paid.
Image via

"I'm only a factory worker, earning about $200 a month, $950 is a few months' pay. It's a large sum for me, I'm really very sad," he said. He had been asked to sign an agreement, but did not scrutinise it as his English was not fluent, and he thought Singapore was a safe place to shop. "When they asked me if I wanted one year or two years' warranty, I assumed that the one-year warranty was complimentary, so I said one year. He didn't say I have to pay," he told Zaobao. He was told that if he did not pay up for the warranty, he could not leave without the phone. Mr Pham said he knelt down and begged for his money back, but they just laughed at him.

There was even a video of him begging. Not cool Mobile Air. That's no way to treat a customer.

"Wahlao, so bad one ah? Why no one complain about the shop? Easily settled lah!"

Well, there had been complaints against Mobile Air. In fact, they are the champions in the "Most Complaints List" with 11 complaints. That's just from June to August 2014. The shop has already been operating for at least two years.

A quick search online showed that Mobile Air has faced numerous complaints, both locally and overseas. In fact, a brochure at the Sim Lim Square also warned consumers about patronising Mobile Air. Over the third quarter of the year, Mobile Air received the most complaints at Sim Lim Square, with 11 complaints over June to August this year.

It is understood that Mobile Air has been operating for at least two years now. It is unsure why the authorities have yet to take any affirmative action against the shop.

"Quite unfair right? Why nobody do anything wan?"

Although there have been reports made to CASE (Consumers Association Of Singapore), it seems that no one there has done anything about it. So to dish out some social justice, a Singaporean Facebook page decided to step up.

"Ooh! This sounds like a Batman story where good defeats evil! What happened weih?

It all started with popular satire page "SMRT Ltd (Feedback)" asking for 1,010 'likes' (in reference to the 1,010 worth of Singaporean dollars refunded in coins) to launch an operation. It garnered over 9,000 likes.

After garnering much support, they launched #OpsAirKangkang, a campaign to serve much needed justice to Mobile Air. Firstly, they asked for information on the shop owners. It was revealed that the owner of the shop is a man named Jover Chew.

Many netizens had commented on the fact that the authorities should do something to shut down such errant businesses and now, netizens are taking matters into their own hands. One popular satire facebook page, SMRT Ltd (Feedback), has launched #OpsAirKangkang, a campaign to serve “social justice” to Mobile Air for repeatedly scamming customers and not caring.

Next, they ordered a large number of fast food to be delivered to the shop and his house

Their detective skills were so on point that they figured out his second home address too...

We don't even want to know how they managed to get his very "personal" photos

After more investigations, they found Jover's wife's shop. Although she denied any business relations with Jover, it was countered with evidence showing that the shop was registered under Jover Chew.

"Wah, this is not like Batman! This is more like Sherlock Holmes! Only like that ah the story?"

Chill out man. #OpsAirKangkang was a success. So much so that Jover's wife and his mother-in-law begged the page to stop the operation

Not only that, their shops remained closed with no one to be seen

At the end, SMRT Ltd (Feedback) requested for the shop to not only reimburse the Vietnamese tourist the rest of the money but to also top up 1,500 Singaporean dollars as an insurance that they'll never cheat anyone again

"Wow. That's some top notch stuff! But isn't this going overboard? I get it but a bit too much, kan? Right?"

Well, reactions online has mostly been positive. Many are lauding the move and said that the shop "deserved it".

Some Singaporeans even set up an Indiegogo page to crowdfund the Vietnamese tourist an iPhone 6. That page as of this time of writing has accumulated 3,407 US dollars

Image via Indiegogo

A Singaporean, Gabriel Kang, has turned to crowdfunding site Indiegogo to raise at least US$1,000 (S$1,250) to buy an iPhone 6 for the Vietnamese tourist who got scammed at Sim Lim Square.

Kang, who works in a local tech start-up, said he hopes the community can get together to raise the money but would personally top up the amount if it fails to meet the target and ensures full transparency of how funds are used. From the Indiegogo campaign: “We need to raise at least USD$1,000, but hopefully we would raise a bit more to cover express shipping and pay for a goodie bag to help alleviate their suffering. But if we do fall short, I will personally cover the rest.” Besides buying an iPhone 6, Kang would also like to send some uniquely Singaporean gifts such as bak kwa and kaya jam to the Vietnamese tourist named Pham Van Thoai. The Indiegogo fundraising started on Nov. 04 and will close on Nov. 12.

What do you think about the way SMRT Ltd (Feedback) handled this case? Did they go overboard? Let us know on Facebook or Tweet us!

Similarly in Malaysia, social media users went on witch hunt to find Kiki Kamarudin, a road bully who was caught on camera. See how Malaysians (mis)handled the situation HERE:

This is not the first time where social media was used to highlight an issue. Read about them below:

Meanwhile, if you're Singaporean, you won't be able to smoke shisha starting this November. Why?

You may be interested in: