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    Those of you who are accessing the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) website, do keep your eyes peeled.

    A fake ICA website with the address www.singaporeonline-epass.com has been flagged for phishing visitors' visa reference numbers and passport numbers.

    ICA advises the public to exercise caution by checking on the URL and web address to avoid falling prey to such fake websites. The official ICA website URL is www.ica.gov.sg and should be used for all informational and transactional needs concerning ICA matters.

    The fake webpage looks identical to ICA's official website and can easily be mistaken for the real deal. Here's how to spot the fake website:

     

    ICA said their official website remains unaffected and no data has been compromised. A police report has been made and ICA said that they are working on taking down the fake website. 

    A last check at 12.30pm shows that the fake website is still online.

    klim@sph.com.sg

    Thursday, October 5, 2017 - 12:30
    Revised

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    Online scammers are getting savvier by the day by using well-known personalities to entice users and one such scam involved Singaporean billionaire investor Peter Lim.

    Lim, who is the 11th richest man in Singapore according to Forbes' real-time ranking, lodged two police reports in Sept and Oct against online scams involving false and misleading accounts using his name and images.

    The online scams are allegedly disguised as news reports with a quote that claims to have been said by Lim on investing in bitcoin. They were circulated on the internet in the form of advertisement banners too. 

    In a statement from his family's office, the 64-year-old said he is concerned that members of the public have been duped by the scammers and wants to warn others against falling for such scams.

    According to the statement, several fake Facebook accounts were set up claiming to be the official Facebook accounts of Lim, who does not have a Facebook or any social media account.

    At least one member of the public is known to have been scammed into travelling for a purported meeting outside of Singapore with him.

    "Mr Lim has not endorsed such investments," said the statement, which was sent today.

    Screenshot of the scam as sent by the family's office
    Screenshot of the scam as sent by the family's office
    Screenshot of the scam as sent by the family's office
    Screenshot of the scam as sent by the family's office

    These latest scams come after a police report filed by Lim in 2016 against online claims that he had endorsed certain investment methods.

    "Mr Lim is concerned that unsuspecting members of the public may be misled by all these false claims and suffer personal losses," the statement read.

    Members of the public are strongly advised to protect themselves against these false and misleading claims to avoid becoming potential victims of such scams. Netizens should also refrain from circulating and reposting these false claims.

    AsiaOne has reached out to the police for a comment.

    spanaech@sph.com.sg

    Thursday, October 5, 2017 - 18:00
    Others

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    The 18-year-old who was caught on video driving his Nissan GT-R at over 100kmh at a carpark along Stadium Walk in Kallang on Aug 27 last year pleaded guilty to causing grievous hurt to another driver.

    Full-time national serviceman Herman Shi Ximu, now 19, admitted in court yesterday (Oct 4) that he was the one behind the wheel of his Nissan GT-R.

    He had caused the 66-year-old driver of a Toyota Corolla, contractor Teong Hien Sing, to suffer two broken ribs.

    Stomp reported on the incident last year when a Stomp contributor shared a video of the Nissan GT-R racing through the carpark and crashing into the driver's side of an oncoming car.

    The police arrested Herman on Aug 29 and Traffic Police impounded the supercar.

    According to The Straits Times, Deputy Public Prosecutor Soh Weiqi said: "At the second non-signalised junction within the carpark, the accused failed to stop at the stop line and he did not give way to the victim, who was travelling from his left to right."

    She added that Mr Teong was then driving his Toyota Corolla and had the right of way when the teenager's car hit his vehicle.

    A report by a Health Sciences Authority forensic scientist indicated that Herman was driving at a speed of between 104kmh and 121kmh at that time.

    Herman admitted he made a mistake and said that he thought the carpark was empty.

    He is now out on bail of $10,000 and will be back in court on Oct 17.

    For causing grievous hurt by performing a rash act, he can be jailed for up to four years and fined up to $10,000.

    Read the full story at The Straits Times.

    Friday, October 6, 2017 - 08:30

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    A secondary school teacher was found guilty of making two counterfeit Singapore $100 notes and using them to pay for massage services from a Vietnamese woman.

    District Judge Terence Tay on Oct 5 found Daniel Wong Mun Meng, 44, guilty of counterfeiting the money and using it as genuine currency.

    Wong admitted: "In late July 2015, I photocopied two $100 notes of the same serial number using my home printer and ordinary A4-sized paper. It was an experiment to use it as a teaching tool, to excite and engage the students during my maths class because I believe many of them have not seen a $100 note before."

    He added: "Since it was SG50, I wanted to infuse national education in my subject."

    He brought the fake notes with him when he went to Orchard Towers and negotiated with Ms Nguyen Nhu Trang for her services, reports The Straits Times.

    He showed her the counterfeit money before putting it directly inside her handbag while they were sitting in his car.

    They checked into a Fragrance Hotel branch in Balestier Road that day and checked out about an hour later.

    Wong had earlier told the court: "She provided a full body massage for me and thereafter, we had sex."

    When Ms Trang took the stand, she said that she only gave him an oil massage.

    He told Judge Tay that he only realised that he had "mistakenly" given her the fake notes after he dropped her off at Kim Yam Road.

    Ms Trang had tried to use the money to buy items at a supermarket and was caught by an alert cashier.

    Wong was later arrested by police officers at Bukit Batok Secondary School on Aug 20, 2015.

    Read the full story at The Straits Times.

    Friday, October 6, 2017 - 11:18
    Others

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  • 10/05/17--20:21: Stefanie Sun is NOT dead
  • An online report that had been circulating around saying that home-grown singer Stefanie Sun has died has been debunked by Stefanie herself, according to an article on The Straits Times.

    The singer tweeted on Oct 4, "Oi, what's going on? I'm alive."

    on Twitter

    In the online report on states-news.com, the 39-year-old singer was rushed to hospital after a prop fell on her while she was performing in New York on Tuesday.

    The story quoted an audience member who said that while early reports mentioned that Sun had broken her ankle, "official news just broke out the singer died from injuries sustained from the accident".

    Chinese evening newspaper Shin Min Daily News contacted Sun's representative who rubbished the story and said that the singer is in good health.

    The representative added that Sun is in Singapore and preparing for an album launch in November.

    Stefanie posted a video to her Facebook page on the same day, wishing her fans a happy Mid-Autumn Festival.

    on Facebook

    [小編] 祝大家中秋節快樂! Happy Mid-Autumn Festival! 🌝 #大家喜歡什麼口味的月餅呢 #月圓人團圓 #難怪團隊一個個都月來月圓 #台灣的朋友10月20日要記得到戲院支持世界第一部全手繪油畫動畫電影梵谷星夜之謎哦

    Posted by 孫燕姿 Sun Yanzi on Wednesday, 4 October 2017
    Friday, October 6, 2017 - 11:19
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    THEY'RE not millennials but they enjoy similar fame - and extra income - as influencers. Meet three mothers who show that you don't have to be in your teens or 20s to be Instagram stars.

    If you're tired of being limited to bar snacks when you go out for drinks, then enjoy your favourite tipple in the growing number of restaurants which are paying equal attention to food and drink.

    Also in the magazine, check out the winners of this year's Architectural Design Awards and find out if you really should eliminate coconut oil - the trendy superfood - from your diet.

    As bots become more intelligent, there are signs that artificial intelligence is learning prejudice. Are they - and we - programmed to hate? Brunch examines the learning curve in the main paper.

    Elsewhere, Disrupted showcases a bunch of places that makes Singapore an attractive startup hub, informed by the very founders and disruptors who live here.

    Fine Print, meanwhile, enjoys Haruki Murakami's tales of love and longing in his latest, Men and Women.

    Music To My Ears reviews the Harbeth Super HL5 Plus 40th Anniversary loudspeaker, and a new Hendrix tribute album - in jazz.

    The Finish Line speaks to Francis Lee, managing director of Porsche dealer Stuttgart Auto, about Porsche's sponsorship of the Women's Tennis Association Finals in Singapore.

    And in a bumper BT Motoring section, we take a good look at Lexus's revolutionary flagship and its product strategy. We also test-drive the new Audi A8 and Volkswagen Arteon, and check out the Kia Stinger.

    To subscribe, visit btsub.sg/weekend

    Friday, October 6, 2017 - 11:47
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    Singapore - Felise found passion in baking when she started helping her sister with making cupcakes and other pastries around two years ago. Other than the tasty outcome, Felise loves baking as it brings her a sense of fulfilment.

    In this episode of A Little Somebody, the filming team invites professional baker Samantha Pua to give cake decorating classes to Felise. One of the challenges Felise faces is creating patterns by piping, as it requires control and accuracy.

    Good piping is difficult and requires a lot of practice. Is passion enough to fuel Felise to strive on when stress and commitment weighs in?

    on SPH Brightcove

    About "A Little Somebody":

    "A Little Somebody"(我是小某某) is one of 10 SPH-produced short form digital video series as part of a pilot Public Service Broadcast initiative. In this 13-part series, children between the age of 7 and 12 are given the opportunity to showcase their talent in different fields. While encouraging the young to pursue their interests, this series also hopes to inspire viewers to continue learning in life.

    "A Little Somebody"is also available on the zaobao.sg website and mobile app. All episodes come with Chinese and English subtitles.

    Friday, October 6, 2017 - 13:44

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    https://studio.brightcove.com/products/videocloud/media/videos/5588493993001

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    If you're intending to head to Punggol Nasi Lemak at Upper Serangoon Road for dinner today, you can save the trip.

    The kopitiam which houses the popular nasi lemak stall - that often sees snaking queues at mealtimes - has been suspended for one day on Friday (Oct 6). 

    The reason? It did not provide soap in its toilet.

    According to a suspension notice posted on National Environment Agency's (NEA) website, Mee Sek Food Court was given six demerit points on two occasions for failing to provide soap.

    The eating house, located at 965-969 Upper Serangoon Road, was also fined a total of $800 for the offence.

    In its notice, NEA stated that the main operators of coffeeshops, food courts, and canteens who accumulate 12 or more demerit points during a 12-month period may have their licences suspended for a period of either one, two or three days.

    All food stalls operating within the premises, which includes a Hokkien prawn mee stall and fishball noodles stall, will also have to cease operations for the same period of time.

    Just last week, Abundance Eating House at Block 413, Bukit Batok West Avenue 4 also received a similar slap on the wrist for the same offence.

    candicec@sph.com.sg

    Friday, October 6, 2017 - 16:05

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    The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) has been informed that four preschools under Friedrich Frobel Holding will close with effect from 12 October 2017. They are Buttercups Kindergarten (Pasir Panjang) Buttercups Kindergarten (Rochester), Frobel Preschool Woodlands and School House ByTheGarden @ AMK.

    This follows the recent closure of three other preschools under Friedrich Frobel - Buttercups Montessori Kindergarten, Happy Brainy Kidz in Wonderland and Frobel Lilac.

    The report stated that in support of families and centre staff who have been affected by these closures, relevant agencies and various community partners have been working closely together on the following:​

    - ECDA has facilitated alternative placement for all children in the three preschools that had closed by linking parents up with available preschools in the vicinity. For children in the four preschools that are closing soon, ECDA is reaching out to affected parents to provide assistance with preschool placement. Given the circumstances, we understand that some operators are supporting parents with the initial enrolment costs.

    - Parents or caregivers who need help or clarifications with alternative placement can contact the ECDA officer in charge of their preschools or contact ECDA.

    - Some Grassroots Advisors and a volunteer lawyer have also stepped up to assist in guiding affected parents on matters pertaining to deposits and fees.

    - And for the affected staff, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), Central Provident Fund Board (CPF) and the Education Services Union (ESU) will assist those who are owed salaries and CPF contributions. ESU will also assist affected staff in finding alternative employment.​

    According to the release, the closure of these preschools under Friedrich Frobel Holding is complicated by the many stakeholders involved, as well as the ongoing law suit between various shareholders of Friedrich Frobel Holding.

    In fact, one shareholder is currently in prison for contempt of court for failing to comply with a court order. Separately, the Singapore Police Force has initiated criminal investigations following the filing of several police reports. The Insolvency and Public Trustee's Office is also monitoring the company's status closely.

    Additionally, ECDA's priority is to safeguard the safety and well-being of the children in preschools. ECDA will continue to closely monitor the situation and coordinate with relevant agencies to minimise disruption to children and parents as far as possible.

    This article was first published in HumanResources.

    Friday, October 6, 2017 - 16:12
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    So you've just seen how much you're paying this month on your home loan, and you're seriously considering switching to another bank with the lower interest rates…

    Except you don't know if refinancing is a good choice. Will it really be able to save you money in the long-term? Is the cost of refinancing really worth it? Here are some costs you will encounter when refinancing your home loan:

    IF YOU ARE STILL WITHIN YOUR LOCK-IN PERIOD: PREPAYMENT PENALTY

    If you've more than 6 months to go before the end of your lock-in aka the "commitment" period (as the banks would put it), refinancing would incur redemption fees of about 1.5 per cent of your outstanding loan amount.

    Imagine you've taken up a $500,000 mortgage loan, and you've paid up $200,000 of the principal, with $300,000 outstanding. Your lock-in penalty would be 1.5 per cent of $300,000. That's $4,500 if you repaid or refinanced during the lock-in period.

    However, you shouldn't wait till the lock-in period to end before starting the refinancing process. However, you need give your current bank at least 3 months notice.

    Ideally, you should try to get a refinancing contract from your new bank when there's less than 6 months left in your lock-in period with your current bank. This is because the contract signed with your new bank is effective for 6 months, and with home loan interest rates rising, you'll want to lock in a good rate early.

    Anyway, by the time all the processing has been done, your lock-in period would've ended.

    IF YOUR LOAN IS NOT FULLY DISBURSED: CANCELLATION FEES

    If the bank has not fully disbursed your loan amount for a new housing development since the building has yet to obtain its Certificate of Statutory Completion, or CSC, make sure you know the cost of refinancing.

    Just like there's a penalty for prematurely cancelling all contracts, a mortgage loan is no exception. If you want to refinance before the CSC, you'll need to pay a cancellation fee. This is usually 0.75 per cent to 1.5 per cent of the amount that hasn't been disbursed yet.

    Say you've taken up a $500,000 mortgage loan to purchase a new condominium unit worth $1 million. The building has just obtained the Temporary Occupation Permit, or TOP, so the bank has yet to disburse the remaining 15 per cent of the purchase price ($150,000).

    You decide to cancel and pay up the remaining owed amount yourself. Assuming the bank charges a 1.5 per cent loan cancellation fee, you'll have to pay $2,250 (0.15 X 0.015 X $1mil).

    The good news is if your property is a completed property when you bought it, the loan from the bank would be disburse at one shot lah. So unless you're buying a new development, a cancellation fee won't apply to you.

    IF YOUR LOAN IS BELOW $300,000 (HDB) OR $500,000 (PRIVATE) WHEN YOU REFINANCE: LEGAL CHARGES

    When you first took up your mortgage loan, there were legal charges due to the paperwork involved.

    Now, when you refinance, the new bank has to go through the same paperwork again. Hence, you'll get slapped with a new set of legal charges.

    These charges can range anywhere between $1,800 for HDBs, to $3,000 for private properties.

    The MAS has implemented new regulations in 2012 to make it more difficult for banks to provide any form of subsidy for residential property loans.

    However, banks still do give subsidies for legal charges incurred in refinancing cases. If your loan amount is above $300,000 (for HDB) or $500,000 (for private property), your new bank would subsidize approximately $1,800 and $2,000 respectively.

    If your loan amount is below the aforementioned figures, you may receive less subsidies, or in the worst case, nothing at all.

    However, don't rejoice just because you've received a legal subsidy…

    IF YOU'VE BEEN GIVEN A LEGAL SUBSIDY BY YOUR CURRENT BANK: CLAWBACK FEES

    If you took up your mortgage loan before MAS's rules were implemented in 2012, or you've refinanced with your current bank previously and they gave you a legal subsidy, your contract has what is known as a "clawback period".

    (Note that this is separate from the lock-in period.)

    Think of this as a temporary guarantee you've given to the bank that you'll stay with them since they've helped you offset your legal charges.

    Clawback periods are usually 3 years long. Like the lock-in period, if you do not fulfil the bank's clawback period, you'll have to pay them back whatever's they've subsidized you.

    FOR ALL CASES: VALUATION FEES

    When you refinance, your new bank would have to evaluate your property's value again.

    For this alone, you'll have to pay the bank anywhere between $250 to even $1,000 or higher, depending on the value of your property and whether it's a private property or HDB.

    SO WITH ALL THESE FEES, IS REFINANCING WORTH IT?

    In summary, while the purpose of refinancing is to lower your monthly repayment, you NEED to check that the cost of refinancing doesn't exceed the amount you stand to save.

    Consider these examples:

    SCENARIO 1

    You have an outstanding HDB loan of $200,000 with 20 years remaining, at a 2.6 per cent interest rate.

    You are paying $1,070 a month.

    Say you find a bank willing to refinance at a 1.5 per cent interest rate.

    That means you now only need to pay $966 a month, or $104 less each month that what you are paying now.

    That's great!

    However, because the outstanding loan amount is less than $300,000, your new bank does not subsidize the legal charges.

    The cost of refinancing is $2,250 in total: $2,000 in legal charges, and $250 in valuation fees.

    So although you can look forward to paying $104 less each month, you have to pay $2,250 upfront.

    In other words, it will take 22 months before you're actually seeing any savings. That's almost 2 years!

    SCENARIO 2:

    Now imagine your outstanding HDB loan is $500,000, also with 20 years remaining, at a 2.6 per cent interest rate.

    You are paying $2,674 a month.

    Say you find a bank willing to refinance at a 1.5 per cent interest rate.

    That means you only need to pay $2,413 a month, or $261 less each month that what you are paying now!

    What's more, since your outstanding loan amount is above $300,000, your new bank offers you a $1,800 subsidy on your legal charges.

    So even though your total cost of refinancing should be $2,250, you'll only have to pay $450.

    This means that after only 2 months, you'll already be enjoying your savings!

    HOW WOULD I KNOW MY COST OF REFINANCING?

    Give our friendly mortgage brokers a call.

    They'll be happy to explain all the potential costs you might encounter, as well as help you find the best home loan refinancing options in Singapore.

    What else do you consider other than the cost of refinancing? Share your thoughts with us.

    Saturday, October 7, 2017 - 17:00

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