Wednesday, March 18, 2009

RIP-OFF at Newton Hawker Centre!

Everyday without fail, I will read much of the news online at several websites, both local and foreign. As I read and digest the various roll-out of news from all corners of the world..I keep much of what I feel about what I am reading to myself. From time to time, I may share my thoughts with some others in my circle of friends and within the community. But by and large, I generally keep my feelings in "archive" mode...until the day I may speak out or shout it out loudly! That does not happen very often and it is not out of fear that I do not join in the unending forums on the net on various topics and issues. Once in a while, I come across something that literally "makes my blood boil" and after after some reflection, I am still agitated and disturbed. The feelings just won't go away.

This incident as reported in the Asia One online news and Soshiok website cannot just be archived away!

Something has to be done to these
"daylight robbers". Something has also to be done for all those victims of such robbery as these 6 innocent visitors to our shore from America.
Over the years, you and I have come across numerous such incidents particularly at our famous Newton Hawker Centre. Occasionally, I read the culprits were fined small sums and given demerit points. Some had their license suspended for a week, 2 weeks etc.
But did they learn their lessons after the penalties? Apparently NO! Not from the spate of recurring incidents every year! And mind you, many cheated victims are FEARFUL of reporting the guilty stallholders involved. WHY?
Read the actual report of the latest incident in the link provided below.
The stallholder used," 4 beefy sized men" to INTIMIDATE the 6 Americans into paying up.
Who are these 4 samsengs? Are other stalls also doing similar things...BULLYING innocent tourists and even locals into paying wharever amount they ask for?
Just imagine 8 Tiger prawns for $ 239 !!!
Industry sources said it should not be more than $ 52.
Their total bill came to $ 491. They paid $500 and guessed what...the stall owner just slipped the notes into his pocket and no change were given to the poor victims.
What would any of you have done in similar circumstances?
Apparently, 99 % just pay up and promise themselves never to go there again.
No wonder these dastardly scumbags continue to brazenly rip-off one and all.
They fear no reprisal from the diners. It is in fact the other way around as can be deemed
from the complainants in this case!
Unk Dicko will always be part of the 1% in such circumstances.

And in the weeks and months to come, I will find the time to share not only my experiences with
such BULLIES that came in ALL forms, all quarters...but more importantly, how I dealt with them, almost all the time singlehandedly and most successfully...and without resorting to violence or any unsavoury means.

Perhaps, it is time the Law is revised to adequately curtail this criminal activity once and for all.
For starters I suggest:
1. A permanent suspension to operate any foodstall for such guilty parties.
2. A penalty of a FINE which is 20 times the amount overcharged. The amount should be given
to the victims as compensation for their injured feelings, fear, and spoilt vacation. Locals are
included too.
3. The "samsengs" are not stall assistants, dishwashers etc. They are likely people with secret
society connections or are purely acting the part to scare potential challengers of their crime.
They need to be reined in by the Law too.


stanley said...

I am just as allergic as you,Unk Dicko when I find myself in a situation where getting out of it is not possible. Better pay up and boycott the stall, otherwise it's not worth spending a few days in a hospital.

PChew said...

I have bycotted the Newton Hawker Centre long ago because of its bad repution. This is not the first incident of ripped off by the seafood stallholders. The only solution as I see it, is to demolish the hawker centre and tender out the land for restuarants and food courts, etc. I am sure everyone is now watching for NEA's action on this matter.

unk Dicko said...

These criminals masquerading as stallholders continually and boldly carry out such acts principally because the punitive action for their crimes...are pathetically feeble. They are getting away scot-free practically to rob and rob again. Officers of the Law are not always present at all times...much like Clarke Quay area too.
Unk Dicko has experienced over-charging as well as attempts to cheat. Not once have I ever backed off. These guys observe you...the potential victims very carefully, size you up and nearly 100% of the time,know people will pay up. Some may just question or grumble...but still pay up. I DON'T !!! I never allow myself to get cornered into a quarrel,commotion or potential fist-fight.
Instead, unk Dicko quietly but firmly whispers something to these so-called gangsters and samsengs. It takes a few seconds to register..but what I tell them throws them into some fear and confusion.
Without fail, they apologise for their " mistakes" and ask that action not be taken.
I can't tell you openly here what I tell them to put them on the brakes. Others without my kind of backgroud, may foolishly do the same and get themselves walloped. I do not want that to happen to anyone at all.
But Philip may be right...maybe it's best to dismantle that hell-hole and rebuid again.

unk Dicko said...

The news is just out.
The stall has been slapped with a 3month suspension.
See what I meant in my main post. The punishment is paltry and feeble for such rotten eggs!
What about the 4 samsengs?
They are most likely on the payroll of many stalls to act as"enforcers" of crime...when intimidation is required. The public should speak up loudly against such that the authorities can be moved to take REAL ACTION.

Lam Chun See said...

Like Philip, I practically never patronize Newton Circus. And I always tell my foreign friends to avoid the place. Although I have not been over-charged before, I got really put off by their arrogance.

Anyway, those who are familiar with customer service concepts know that in the end, the customer always wins. The sad part is that some of the innocent stalls get punished as a result of the black sheep in their midst. One good example is Sim Lim Sqaure.

unk Dicko said...

That's why it is so important to weed out the rotten apples,C See.
There are no two ways about this.
You suspend these devils, they go on extended long holidays with the money they had robbed from their poor victims. Meanwhile they shift their business to another or other stalls ( Some have a few stalls).
IMO, this form of "robbery with intimidation" should carry a mandatory JAIL sentence, plus a HEAVY FINE. Compensation must be made to the victims...non-debatable. And persons involved blacklisted permanently from such business.
Only then will we see normal, honest business at Food Centres or SIM LIM Square again.