Jail for former Thailand-based ‘Ah Long’ who fled S’pore in 2018 after jumping bail, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Jail for former Thailand-based ‘Ah Long’ who fled S’pore in 2018 after jumping bail

A Singaporean man who operated an unlicensed moneylending business in Thailand that targeted debtors here was caught at Changi Airport on Feb 13, 2018, and charged two days later.

Lua Xiang Long was released on bail of $30,000 and was supposed to return to the State Courts on March 20 that year.

Instead, he boarded a fishing boat and left for Malaysia without his passport, before making his way back to Thailand.

But on April 24, 2023, Lua surrendered to the Thai authorities, as he felt lonely and missed his mother. He was sent back to Singapore the next day.

On Nov 28, the 34-year-old was sentenced to a jail sentence of two years and seven months after he pleaded guilty to offences including multiple charges under the Moneylenders Act. He was also fined $60,000 and will have to spend an additional 12 weeks behind bars if he cannot fork out the amount.

Lua joined the illegal moneylending business in Thailand after he got to know a man known as Elvis in Bangkok in February 2017. Elvis offered him a job as an assistant "Ah Long" or loan shark in his unlicensed moneylending business.

Lua accepted the offer and started working for Elvis the following month.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Delicia Tan said that Lua received a monthly basic salary of $1,000 and free lodging, as well as free meals and drinks at pubs. He mainly assisted Elvis in calling and soliciting potential borrowers. Lua was also given a laptop with a database containing Singapore mobile numbers.

After calling the numbers, Lua, who was aware that he was working for a syndicate, was given a new list with more than 1,000 contact numbers.

If any of those contacted wished to borrow money, he would direct them to Elvis for a briefing on the loan conditions.

Around July 2017, Lua was promoted to be an "Ah Long". The syndicate also handed him $30,000 as capital for his moneylending business. He continued to receive a monthly salary of $1,000.