Sim Lim Square

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Sim Lim Square
Location Rochor, Singapore
Opening date 1987
No. of stores and services 151
No. of floors 6
Website Sim Lim Square
Sim Lim Square has six stories of shops, offering mainly electronic and IT products.

Sim Lim Square (Chinese: 森林商业中心, Wade-Giles: Sen1 lin2 shang1 yeh2 chung1 hsin1), commonly referred to as SLS, is a large retail complex that offers a wide variety of electronic goods and services ranging from DVDs, cameras, phones, video cameras, and computer parts and servicing.

Located at 1 Rochor Canal Road, Singapore, SLS is situated in central Singapore, near historic features such as the Little India district and one of the earliest HDB developments. SLS is accessible via MRT at Bugis or Little India MRT stations.

After several reports of incidents of fraud faced by tourists, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China published a warning about purchasing electronics from Sim Lim Square.[1]

Shop types[edit]

The complex is a six-storey building with a range of varied electronics supply and service shops. The centre operates away from the main shopping areas of Singapore and as such can be seen as an area for bargains to be gained with cheap and inexpensive goods. Examples of this can include phones, laptops, computer parts, cameras and other electronic devices.

CASE (Consumer Association of Singapore) often publishes advisory against rogue vendors in SLS.[2]


Many shops in Sim Lim Square, particularly those on lower levels selling games, cameras and mobiles, resort to scam tactics to reap higher profits. The most recent case of Jover Chew Chiew Loon involve a 33-month prison sentence[3][4][5][6]. In early 2008, some SLS shops were busted by the police for selling counterfeit copies of Microsoft Windows[7].

Infamy and Redress[edit]

In April 2013, after Sim Lim Square's management put up lists of recalcitrant shops as a warning to shoppers, some of those stores resorted to shrinking or removing their names from their signboards, or even changing their name. The lists have also been ripped off by unknown culprits.[8][9] It was reported a month later that retailers had secretly charged extra amounts were charged to customers' credit cards as taxes or transaction fees.[8]

Malaysian diver Ooi Tze Liang, who was participating in the 2014 Singapore Fina Diving Grand Prix, reported paying over S$4,800 for two iPhone 6 phones, despite being quoted a price of $2,500. Ooi was unaware of the cost when he signed a contract for a warranty package amounting to over $2,300. Ooi said that the shopkeeper refused to hand over the phones unless the payment was made. Ooi paid up instead of cancelling the warranty contract, which would have cost him $800. It was reported by The New Paper that there was "little that can be done by the authorities" as the customer signed a contract.[10]

On 4 December, police raided and shuttered two mobile phone retailers, Gadget Terminal, and De.Mac Gadget/Mobile Apps, as part of investigations following reports lodged against them.[11]

The impact on the mall's reputation over customer scams was so serious that in November 2014, management of Sim Lim Square appealed to the authorities to "take a tough stand against the recalcitrant retailers".[12][13]

Scam victims may seek redress through the Sim Lim Square management (who certifies honest retailers through its Star Retailer programme), CASE (Consumer Association of Singapore) or the Small Claims Court.

Mobile Air[edit]

14 complaints of impropriety were lodged against Mobile Air between July and September 2014, while 28 charges were brought onto the owner Jover Chew of Mobile Air, of which he pleaded eventually guilty to 12 of them. $12,199 was refnunded to 26 victims. Most of the charges involve abetment by conspiracy to cheat customers and criminal intimidation of customers. Case studies raised include Chinese citizen Zou Jing Tong that bought an iPhone 6 Plus on 24 September at $1,600, as well as $2,376 extra, plus $99 a month for a two-year warranty. The salesperson of Mobile Air Kam Kok Keong required that Zou receive a refund of only $600 after she rejected the deal, and required Zou reimbursing Mobile Air $872 accruing from a 'breach of contract'. The Small Claims Tribunal ruled that the shop should refund her $1,010, thus on October 28, Mobile Air returned Zou $1,010. Chew allegedly threw $547 as coins of all denominations, including five cents, weighing a total of 18 kg on the floor, making Zhou count them[14][15][16].

On 3 November, Vietnamese tourist Pham Van Thoai paid S$950 for an iPhone 6 from Mobile Air.[17] Mobile Air deceived Pham into an additional $1,500 in warranty fees, which he signed without apparent literacy of English[18][19][20].

After closure[21] and injunction of Mobile Air[22], Chew now serves a 33 sentence, while Kam and three other employees serve four to 14 months for their role in the scam that saw unprecedented success in raising awareness via the social media and internet platform[19][23][24][25][26].

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wee, Cheryl Faith. "Chinese and Vietnamese tourists warned to be careful when buying electronics in Singapore". The Straits Times. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  2. ^ "Recent CASE Advisory against rogue vendors at Sim Lim Square". Sep 1, 2013. 
  3. ^ Chong, Elena. "Jover Chew, former boss of Mobile Air, jailed 33 months for conning customers, also fined $2,000". Straits Times. Retrieved 1 December 2015. 
  4. ^ "Blog on Sim Lim Square scams". May 23, 2012. 
  5. ^ "I'm not visiting Sim Lim Square ever again". December 9, 2008. 
  6. ^ "Sim Lim Square and Lucky Plaza: Bargain heaven or rip-off joint?". May 26, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Microsoft Warns of High-end Pirated Software Retail Outlets". May 12, 2008. 
  8. ^ a b "5 recent infamous incidents at Sim Lim Square". The Straits Times. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  9. ^ Koh, Hui Theng. "Shamed Sim Lim Square retailers change signboards". The New Paper. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  10. ^ Lim, Jeremy. "M'sian diving champ paid more than $4k for two iPhones from Sim Lim Square shop". The New Paper. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  11. ^ Diane Leow; Marcus Mark Ramos; Loke Kok Fai. "Two Sim Lim Square mobile phone retailers under investigation". Channel News Asia. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  12. ^ Abu Baker, Jalelah (4 November 2014). "Sim Lim Square: 5 reasons it is infamous". Straits Times. Retrieved 5 November 2014. 
  13. ^ Wee, Cheryl Faith (4 November 2014). "Five recent infamous incidents at Sim Lim Square". Straits Times. Retrieved 5 November 2014. 
  14. ^ Ronald, Loh. "Sim Lim Square shop pays $1,010 refund in coins". The New Paper. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  15. ^ Law, Elizabeth. "Sim Lim Square shop owner can't explain why he paid in coins". The New Paper. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  16. ^ "CASE to probe Sim Lim mobile shop after coin incident". AsiaOne. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  17. ^ Chew, Hui Min. "iPhone 6 incident at Sim Lim Square goes viral in Vietnam, makes international headlines". The Straits Times. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  18. ^ Chew, Hui Min. "Vietnamese tourist kneels and begs for refund of iPhone 6 at Sim Lim Square". The Straits Times. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  19. ^ a b "China warns of Singapore scams amid tourism controversy". BBC News. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  20. ^ Xue, Jianyue. "". Channel News Asia. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  21. ^ "Mobile Air shop reopens with new name". Channel News Asia. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  22. ^ "CASE to start injunction proceedings against Mobile Air". Channel News Asia. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  23. ^ "Crowdfunders pitch in after tourist caught in Singapore phone scam". Agence France-Presse. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  24. ^ Jalelah Abu Baker. "Vietnamese tourist in Sim Lim Square incident says he is not accepting any more help". The Straits Times. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  25. ^ Aw Cheng Wei; Jalelah Abu Baker. "Vietnamese tourist ripped off in Sim Lim Square declines iPhone from fundraiser, leaves Singapore". The Straits Times. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  26. ^ Kang, Gabriel. "We need to make this right, send him an iphone6!". IndieGoGo. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 1°18′11″N 103°51′11″E / 1.30306°N 103.85306°E / 1.30306; 103.85306