Yeah Lee Ching recalls when a lady walked into her pawnshop in Singapore and pledged a USD10,000 diamond-studded gold Rolex watch to bankroll casino spending. She never came back for her jewelry.
Pawnbrokers are proliferating across Singapore as gamblers seeking short-term loans add to demand for quick cash from people struggling to make ends meet in the world’s most expensive city.
The number of pawnshops in the city-state surged to 214 this year from 114 in 2008, according to a report by DMG & Partners Securities Pte. Loans disbursed by the industry jumped to S$5.5 billion (USD4.4 billion) in 2013 from S$1.6 billion in 2007, government data show.