By Laura Zhang
It started in July, when Mr Adam Lim, 49, engaged HKlassic Interior Design to renovate his new sweet home at Choa Chu Kang Crescent. After making a payment of $12,820, Mr Lim was notified by the carpenter and plumber that they would not proceed with the tasks as they had not received any form of payment.
Mr Vincz Chua, whose actual name is Cai Ming Sheng according to Mr Lim, was the representative of HKlassic that signed the contract with Mr Lim in July. Under a good deal, Vincz quoted Mr Lim a low price for a dozen of renovation works, with the entire project amounting to S$12,820 with handwritten tabulations. Mr Lim was required to pay a deposit of $1,000 and 40% of the cost of entire project.
On 8 September, Vincz requested Mr Lim to pay up the other 60%, and claimed that works were about done. All payments were transferred to a DBS account 019xxxx960.
“As I was desperate to move in soon, and I trusted him because he updated me on his progress constantly, I transferred the remainder,” said Mr Lim to The Independent, regretting his decision after realising the “updates” had been entirely false claims.
Mr Lim was shocked when he saw the undone cabinet and wardrobe, and unfurnished floor and wall.
On 24 September, Vincz contacted Mr Lim with another number, informing him that he had changed number and had quitted his job because HKlassic was indebted to him. Vincz also gave his words that renovation tasks would resume on 10 October as he was expecting a “handover”. It was unsure what he meant. Further, Vincz told Mr Lim to claim $1,000 deposit from HKlassic.
Soon, HKlassic called Mr Lim and informed him that they were not liable for any financial transactions involved in the project and refunded Mr Lim $500, which was soon collected by Vincz from Mr Lim as he convinced Mr Lim it was necessary for the completion.
Ever since Vincz left HKlassic, there had been little progress, with the labourers rushing Mr Lim for remuneration, telling him “Vincz had not paid us.” The labourers said the amount Vincz owed them were totalled $6,000, including purchases of materials presumably made out of workers’ pockets, such as pipes and cabinets.
Each time when Mr Lim prompted Vincz, he would be met with “Sorry, I’m trying.” Vincz had also claimed his son was hospitalised and it was causing the glitch.
As shift-out date approached, Mr Lim, along with his wife and two children had to move to their new flat on 21 Oct. He paid $200 to a labourer to purchase pipes.
“I DIY many renovation works,” Mr Lim said, ” Vincz had not appeared since we moved in. And he doesn’t respond to phone calls. The labourers are also looking for him. They wouldn’t proceed without being paid.”
“There’s only cold shower. Luckily, I managed to rush them to finish painting my wall and to get the floor paved,” he said.
Mr Lim had made a police report on 6 November at Choa Chu Kang Neighbourhood Police Centre.
The Independent had since then reached to Vincz via both his old and new contacts, but he did not pick up the calls.
Upon contacting HKlassic, Ms Li, who declined to reveal her full name said, “we wish police can catch him. We’ve lodged a police report. He had got our company into trouble with 10 scamming cases under another brand’s name – HKconcept. He cheated clients’ money of over $100,000 which were transferred to his personal account.”
“We fired him in September as we noticed he had been scamming customers.”
Plot twist occurred when a plumber under Mr Lim’s renovation project, who declined to be named, phoned The Independent and said, “my friend saw Vincz continue working at HKlassic recently. Vincz would be in the office at 6 to 9 p.m. daily.”
“Actually HKlassic has been fooling their own employees, by owing or delaying them salary. One of their staffers called Wilson also allegedly used exactly same tricks. Few days back, an HDB owner lodged a police report against Wilson.
“HKlassic is a lie,” he said, “I’ve made a police report because I want my pay.”
He then sent the proofs of police report against Wilson from HKlassic:
On 6 November, Mr Liew Yao Hui, an investigation officer had informed Mr Lim that the case had been under investigation, and had told Mr Lim that they had received a similar case in September against the same party.
“I hope this story can serve as a public reminder not to be fooled into their drama, at the same time I wish relevant authority can identify the scammers,” said Mr Lim.