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Wednesday, Aug 6, 2014

Singapore

From 'victims' to viral video

The New Paper | Wednesday, Aug 6, 2014

SPF hired a film company, Night Owl Cinematics, to do a Crimewatch-like spoof video clip that went viral on YouTube with 1.18million views in slightly eight months

SINGAPORE - We have your son and we want $8,000.

When Mr Ryan Tan's mother heard that line over the phone, she panicked.

She did not know that her son, who was not answering her calls, was safely asleep in another apartment.

When he finally returned her call, she was less than a metre from an automated teller machine and was about to transfer the money to the scammer.

This was two years ago, but that incident is etched in Mr Tan's memory.

And it was with that in mind that he produced the YouTube video hit Top 10 Criminals in Singapore.

Commissioned by agencies including the Singapore Police Force and the National Crime Prevention Council, the video was released last November.

Using babes, hunks and humour, the six-minute video is a light-hearted portrayal of 10 common petty crimes here, such as online and kidnapping scams, shoplifting and theft.

In eight months, it has attracted more than 1.19 million views.

The video was produced by Night Owl Cinematics, a production company co-founded by Mr Tan and Ms Sylvia Chan in February last year.

Mr Tan, the producer, and Ms Chan, the director, told The New Paper last Thursday that they both have been targets of crime.

For Ms Chan, 26, she was the victim of an online beauty product scam about two years ago.

"I had signed up for this beauty product online spree and paid about $400 for a facial set," she said, adding that she never received the goods, prompting her to call the organiser.

"It was a different woman who picked up my call and she claimed to be the (organiser's) sister. She told me that her sister had died and to stop harassing the family," Ms Chan said.

Soon after, the organiser's number was no longer in service. "That was when I knew I had been scammed."

Ms Chan managed to locate about 50 fellow victims on an online forum and learnt that some of them had filed police reports.

And it was with these real-life examples in mind that Mr Tan and Ms Chan (inset) concocted the script for their video.

Said Mr Tan: "We know the patterns of these criminals. We tried to use real-life examples to prevent others from falling into the same trap.

"We also decided to make it a comedy because it would be more effective in reaching out to people. When people laugh, they will remember."

Actress Nina Tan, 23, a beauty consultant who played a sexy online scammer in the "Sextortionist" scene, said she was proud of the video.

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