Two Singaporean women recently contacted police after being conned out of $S1,450 ($1,080) by a man who sold them nine small bottles of “holy water” which he claimed could cure their bad luck and solve all their problems.
We’ve all heard of cunning snake oil salesmen using their power of persuasion to sell fake cures to gullible people, but it takes a special kind of talent to sell a small quantity of water for a small fortune. Well, either that or you need to find potential customers naive enough to fall for your lies. In retrospect, 30-year-old Ms. Yang, from Singapore, admits that she and her sister probably should have thought twice before spending a total of $S1,450 on nine small bottles of water just because the seller told them it was capable of turning their luck.
Photo: Lianhe Wanbao
Ms. Yang, who lives in a Bukit Batok apartment with her husband, sister, and father, recently told the Lianhe Wanbao newspaper that both she and her husband were unemployed when a mysterious Indonesian peddler told sister that he had a miraculous cure to all of their problems. Financially dependent on her sister and with her two children living with foster families, Yang just couldn’t say no to such a tempting proposition.
The 30-year-old woman remembers seeing the man hanging around her building and peddling all kinds of goods. Her sister was one of his regular customers, and one day he offered to sell her some “holy water” that could change her family’s luck. Yang’s sister believed him and asked her to come see him herself. She agreed and fell for his smooth talking as well.
“I don’t know why, but I too was taken in by him,” Yang said. “I thought of my two children, and hoped to use the power of the ‘holy water’ so they could return home .”
The Indonesian man claimed to be a “spiritual consultant” and told the two sisters that his “holy water” could cure all kinds of problems and make their lives better. How do you say ‘no’ to that? You don’t, so the two sister bought nine bottles of the miraculous water, for a total of $S1,450 ($1,080). The water looked like ordinary drinking and came in plain plastic bottles, but that didn’t bother the women at the time.
It was after they noticed that the holy water didn’t seem to have any effect that the two women started thinking they may have made a big mistake. The spiritual consultant had instructed them to sip a spoonful of water every day and pour the rest of it over themselves, which they did, but they noticed literally no change in their luck. Imagine that…
Madam Yang claims that she called the seller to complain about the holy water and ask for a refund, but he refused, asking her to buy more of it instead. When she threatened to call the police on him, the man taunted her to do it, saying that he would curse her children if she didn’t pay him more money. This time, she didn’t fall for his words, and called the police.
“My life did not turn around after drinking the ‘holy water’,” Yang said. “I have called the police and I hope to publicize the matter so as to encourage others to be more careful.”
The snake oil salesman is still at large, and the woman have no information about him other that he looked to be around 50-years-old.