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A man impersonated an editor from Chinese daily Shin Min Daily News, offering various advertising packages for hawkers.
The incident came to light after a hawker from Pek Kio Food Centre complained to reporters that a man with ‘curly hair’ had attempted to sell advertising packages to hawkers in the area on Jun 24.
Various vendors from hawker centres in Chinatown Complex and Serangoon Gardens have since spoken about similar encounters with the suspect, with one vendor claiming that he was cheated of S$500, reports Shin Min Daily News via Lianhe Zaobao.
A stall owner from Jin Ji Teochew Braised Duck and Kway Chap in Chinatown Complex Food Centre, took a 20-minute-long audio recording of his conversation with the conman, having sensed that something was amiss.
Said the owner: "In his second visit to my stall, we spoke for almost two hours.
"He even said that he was a editor at Shin Min Daily News and a reporter before that."
However, the owner knew the man was lying as he was an avid reader of the paper and recognised that the editor had the same name as himself.
The owner then secretly took an audio recording of the conversation between the conman and himself, which he sent to Shin Min Daily News after.
In the recording, the conman could be heard saying that he was very familiar with Chinatown, and had been an apprentice to another reporter for many years before that.
He also stressed that although the package cost S$2,900, the fees were not 'advertising fees', but rather, 'management fees'.
The man added that it was a exclusive deal which needed to be renewed every three years.
Another hawker from Serangoon told reporters that the conman had visited his stall earlier this month.
According to the hawker, the conman wore a jacket sporting the word 'media' and identified himself as a member of the press.
He said: "He (the conman) was quite eloquent and very detailed, but I found his foreign accent suspicious, so I did not accept his proposal in the end."
Shin Min Daily News and various affected hawkers have lodged police reports with regard to the incident, and the case is currently under investigation.
The paper also clarified that it does not accept fees for the various accreditation it grants to hawkers in its hawker awards co-organised with City Gas.