Sim Lim Episode Follow-Up

Magistrate's Complaint

A form I filled out at Crime Registry, Subordinate Court of Singapore

Read: Sim Lim Square Shop Cheats & Hits Customer

Sim Lim Scam is Rampant
Sim Lim Scum is Hideous
Make Sure to Do Tedious Research
Or Else Lose All Your Dollars

After I filed the Magistrate’s Complaint at Crime Registry, Subordinate Court of Singapore, I was led to a little chamber to meet the judge.

Glancing through my file, the judge said, as a matter of fact, that it was not the first time he received cases about Sim Lim. “It is very common for this to happen to foreigners and tourists at Sim Lim.”

“You mean they’ve hit other customers, too?” I sought solace in community grievances.

“No, but overcharging is quite common. I don’t even go to Sim Lim myself. I never go there. Places like Mustafa and Burlington are better,” the judge educated me. “To shop at Sim Lim you need to be very intelligent and asking a lot of questions.”

The reason he went on and on about the reputation of Sim Lim was that I didn’t really have any hope in my case – primarily due to not having a witness.

Without a witness, I was only telling a story. The security camera, according to him, was a dummy camera that would erase all the record in 24-48 hours, and it wouldn’t capture very well. Even if it did capture the incident, the Sim Lim scum could defend himself by saying it was completely an accident that the calculator hit my ankle. Without a witness, it’d be a difficult to accuse the other party.

“The security guard saw it. Should I ask the security guard to be my witness?” I asked.

“The problem is that Singaporeans have not reached the stage where they’d go all the way to the court to help a stranger,” explained the judge.

Oh I totally believed him in that.

“What if I ask my parents’ lawyer in the US to help?”

“That wouldn’t work because this happened in Singapore.”

So, it is against the law to throw trash on the sidewalk and chew gums but legal to have citizens steal off of foreigners.

How ironic is it that they know about the Sim Lim practice yet they don’t investigate? Instead of sending undercover cops, they simply close one eye and let it corrode?

A friend suggested me to do investigative journalism and post it to Youtube – that would really embarrass Singapore.

I’ve found quite a few already:

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About travelust

Living the dream of slooow and looong travel. Exploring the world one step at a time. Follow me: www.instagram.com/travelustful www.flickr.com/photos/travelust/albums www.youtube.com/wenwendream

Posted on July 13, 2011, in Complaint, Singapore and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. I would suggest learning the dialect of choice of most singaporeans just so they don’t think you’re a foreigner.

    • Singlish ma? Can! Can! Can la! *winks*

      Actually even Singaporeans get scammed at Sim Lim (go back to my previous entry and watch the Youtube links)

  2. im disgusted and ashamed of what our fellow singaporeans did to you. I feel for you. Never go Sim Lim if you have no knowledge of the stuff you are buying forums.hardwarezone.com.sg is where u can seek knowledge. I was reading your entry and i was hoping the 2 guys will be sued. But too bad, this isnt the case. In chinese there is a saying, what u do the sky is watching!

  3. When I moved here from Boston, I had to unlock my iPhone. I was new to the unlocking concept and was looking for shops in Singapore who can do this. And I found a shop in Sim Lim Square. They charged me $50 for the jailbreak & unlock. Reading your story, I am appalled by the behaviour of the shop employees.

    Though I ain’t a Singaporean, I feel sorry that a fellow human being had to go through so much for a simple sim card problem. But your experience, though not good, is an eye opener and lesson for other expats who come to this charming country. Hence without seeking your permission, I just tweeted both of your blogs on my page. Hope you don’t mind.

    • You were lucky that you found the right shop among all the shady shops at Sim Lim! Thanks for spreading the word to all other expats because I wasn’t the only victim, as cheating at Sim Lim is quite rampant and something that the police close an eye at. Everyone knows that Sim Lim has this reputation yet no one’s doing anything about it. It’s very confounding to me.

      I’ll check out your twitter. Mine is http://www.twitter.com/travelustful

  4. First of all – good on you for making a fuss. Most people just walk away and accept defeat. I am conflict-averse myself as well but acknowledge that sometimes you have to do something for things to change.

    I used to be Singaporean, but have since migrated away and taken up citizenship in another (couple of) countries. So I look like a Singaporean, and when I’m elsewhere in Asia, I can make people believe that I speak like a Singaporean. But as you’ve established, the kind of dishonesty that happens at Sim Lim is not restricted to foreigners. And ultimately, these dodgy operators have seen enough people come through to know that I’m not a local (even though it might take a short conversation to establish that).

    I do shop at Sim Lim, and have done so quite often. I get a bad taste in my mouth everytime I go there, but I know what I’m looking for and I know what prices should be. It doesn’t make the experience there any more pleasant however. I continue to shop there only because sometimes (at the higher floors) it still is the only place to get the cheapest prices.

    In an ideal world, your incident would be recorded on camera, and then posted on YouTube (and that footage would have been sufficient evidence in court). I would love for something like this to get viral on the Internet – not because it will benefit me necessarily, but I think if more and more instances of recordings were made by people, then it may just be the kind of thing to make these operators think twice before they attempt their intimidation and dishonest practices. The embarassment is probably not the deterrent – it’s the fact that with video evidence, it becomes slightly more likely that they can be found guilty of a criminal act (and WITH evidence, finally the draconian Singaporean laws can finally be of some benefit!).

    So I do encourage those who are going to Sim Lim next time to bring along one of those hidden cameras – the most common ones being those USB ones that are hidden in a pen (which ironically Sim Lim is probably the place to find them). In fact, I’m considering organising a sting and setting these guys up for the fall. So if any of these operators happen to be reading this – pray you don’t get me walking into the store, and if I do, you better be nice to me.

    I do think however that it’s probably the usual case of a small percentage of dodgy operators that spoil the reputation for the others. I personally can point to a handful of people I’ve dealt with who have been nothing but professional and helpful.

    Finally, on the point of the law, if you do have evidence, remember that it’s not only a criminal matter (in the case of personal assault). You are still entitled to sue them for personal injury. 90% of the time, this never works out to be cost efficient as it’ll be more trouble or expensive than it’s worth in the court system. But sometimes it’s the principle that counts, and it will really show these guys that not everybody is just going to accept it and walk away.

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  6. I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the structure of your website?
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  7. It’s not my first time to go to see this website, i am visiting this site dailly and get good information from here every day.

  8. Victims of SIM LIM Square ,Lets get together and push the police, the government, CASE , management of the shopping mall to take action!

    Pls contact me on gavithrihapuarachchi2@yahoo.com

    Lets teach these buggers a lesson not to cheat on innocent people.

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