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iPhone scam victim aided

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Singaporeans have come to the aid of a Vietnamese factory worker who was cheated in an iPhone scam.

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Singaporeans aid Vietnam tourist victim of phone scam

SINGAPORE – Singaporeans outraged by an electronics shop that left a Vietnamese tourist in tears after a phone-sale scam have raised thousands of dollars to compensate him, a crowdfunding site showed Thursday.

Factory worker Pham Van Thoai, 28, on Monday forked out S$950 (24,000 baht) to buy a new iPhone 6 in the Sim Lim Square electronics mall, which has long been known to victimise tourists.

But employees at the Mobile Air store refused to allow him to leave with the phone unless he paid an additional $1,500 in "warranty fees". He was eventually given a partial refund of $400, with no phone in hand, after police intervention.

A video widely shared on social media showed Mr Pham kneeling down and begging the shop owner and employees for his full cash payment while they laughed at him.

Singapore media reports said Mr Pham earns the equivalent of $160 a month in Vietnam and had saved up for months to buy the latest iPhone for his girlfriend.

A crowd-funding campaign launched on the Indiegogo portal to buy Pham an iPhone 6 reached $11,000 by midday Thursday, with more than 1,400 donors.

"This is not OK, this is not right. We are NOT a nation of thieves and cheats," wrote Singaporean technology entrepreneur Gabriel Kang, who initiated the campaign a day after the incident.

"While we cannot undo those traumatic and humiliating scenes he has had to endure, we can try to make things right. Let's give the man an iPhone 6!," Kang wrote on the campaign site.

Despite the huge amount collected on his behalf, Mr Pham said he would only accept the amount he had to forfeit at the store.

"I will accept only $550 donated by kind people. Nothing more. I'm grateful for all your kindness but I do not want to take more than what I've lost," he told the Chinese-language Lianhe Zaobao newspaper.

The incident has touched a raw nerve in wealthy, tech-savvy Singapore, which depends heavily on tourism revenues. The city-state of 5.5 million people attracted nearly 16 million tourists in 2013.

The six-storey Sim Lim Square mall has a bad reputation for a small number of rogue retailers who prey on unsuspecting tourists looking to purchase the latest gadgets before returning home.

A spokesman for the management of Sim Lim said that the shopping centre had received two or three complaints including overcharging and cheating every day, according to the Straits Times.

The negative reputation played a part in the drop of visitors by half in the last two years, said the spokesman, whose name was not disclosed.

Glenn Koh, the director for Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos for the Singapore Tourism Board, said the case on Mr Pham will be investigated as it damaged the reputation of the country which projects itself as a haven for shoppers, Than Nhian reported on the website on Thursday.

Bangkok Post and AFP

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Vocabulary:

aid : to help - ช่วย

campaign : a planned series of activities - การรณรงค์

cash : money - เงินสด

compensate : to pay money to someone because something bad has happened to them - ชดเชย

complaint : when someone says that something is wrong or not satisfactory - การร้องเรียน

crowdfunding (noun): a way of getting money for a project or business plan by raising contributions from a large number of people, typically through the internet -

depend on : to rely on - พึ่งพา  

disclose : to make known to the public - เปิดเผยต่อสาธารณะ

donate : to give something such as money or goods to an organisation, especially to a temple, charity, school, political party, etc. - บริจาค

donor (noun): a person who gives money or goods to an organisation, especially one that helps people - ผู้บริจาค

employee : someone who is paid regularly to work for a person or an organisation - ลูกจ้าง

endure : to suffer something difficult, unpleasant or painful - อดทน

entrepreneur : someone who starts their own business, especially when this involves risks - นักลงทุนทางการเงิน

equivalent : the same as; equal to - เท่าเทียมกันกับ

eventually : at the end of a period of time or at the end of a process - ในที่สุด

factory : a building or group of buildings where goods are made - โรงงาน

fee : an amount of money that you pay to be allowed to do something - ค่าธรรมเนียม, ค่าตอบแทน, ค่าบริการ

forfeit : to lose something or have something taken away from you because you have done something wrong - สูญเสียของจากการถูกปรั

fork out (verb): (informal) to spend money on something, often when you do not want to or because it is more than you can really afford to pay - จ่ายเงิน, ไม่เต็มใจจ่ายให้ (เงิน)

gadget : a small tool or piece of equipment that does something useful or impressive - อุปกรณ์ขนาดเล็ก, กลไกขนาดเล็ก

grateful : a feeling that you want thank someone because they have given you something or done something for you - สำนึกบุญคุณ

haven (noun): a place that is safe and peaceful - ที่ปลอดภัย, ที่หลบภัย

humiliating : making you feel very embarrassed and ashamed - ขายหน้าขายตา, ทำให้เสียเกียรติ

in tears : crying -

incident : something that happens, usually something bad - เหตุการณ์

initiate : to make something start - ริเริ่ม

intervention : a situation in which someone becomes involved in a particular issue, problem, etc., in order to influence what happens - การแทรกแซง

investigate : to try to find out the facts about something in order to learn the truth about it - ตรวจสอบหาความจริง

kneel : to put one or both knees on the ground - คุกเข่า

launch (verb): to start something - เริ่มต้น, เปิดโครงการ, เริ่มทำ

media : radio, television, newspaper, the Internet, considered as a group - สื่อ

negative : bad - ที่เป็นด้านลบ

overcharge (verb): to ask for too much money for the product or service you are selling - คิดเงินแพงเกินไป

partial : in part, but not complete - บางส่วน

portal : a website that is used as a point of entry to the Internet, where information has been collected that will be useful to a person interested in particular kinds of things -

prey on : to hurt or deceive a group of people, especially people who are weak or can easily be hurt or deceived - หาเหยื่อ

project (verb): to present somebody/something/yourself to other people in a particular way, especially one that gives a good impression -

purchase : to buy something - ซื้อ

refund : a reimbursement; an amount of money that is given back to you - เงินที่คืนให้

refuse (verb): to say or show that you will not do something; to say or show that you will not do something that someone has asked you to do - ปฏิเสธ

reputation : the opinion people have about how good or bad someone or something is - ชื่อเสียง

retailer : a person or company that sells goods directly to the public for their own use - ผู้ขายปลีก

revenue : income from taxes or business activities - รายได้

rogue : behaving in ways that are not expected or not normal, often in a destructive way - ไม่ซื่อ, อันธพาล

savvy : having practical knowledge or understanding of something - รู้,เข้าใจ, มีความรู้ความสามารถ

scam : a dishonest plan, especially for getting money - กลโกง, แผนร้าย

social media : the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into an interactive dialogue, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc. - เครือข่ายสังคมออนไลน์

thieves : people who dishonestly take something that belongs to someone else and keep it - ขโมย

touch a raw nerve (idiom): to mention a subject that makes somebody feel angry, upset, embarrassed, etc -

traumatic : making you feel very upset, afraid, or shocked - ซึ่งบอบช้ำทางจิตใจ

unsuspecting : not realising anything is wrong - ไม่สงสัย

victimise (verb): to make somebody suffer unfairly - ทำให้เป็นเหยื่อ,โกง

warranty : a written agreement in which a company selling something promises to repair or replace it if there is a problem within a particular period of time - การรับประกัน

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