He said he felt compelled to help after reading a news report about a cancer-stricken father of three, Mr Goh Hoon Tiong.
So Mr Martin Lim started two online campaigns to raise money for the 44-year-old man and managed to raise more than $36,000.
But two months after the campaigns, Mr Goh has received only $5,000.
Now, members of the public who had donated freely to the campaigns – which were set up on online crowdfunding platforms GIVEasia and Indiegogo – are asking for updates on the funds raised.
They are also chasing Mr Lim to transfer the rest of the money to the cancer-stricken man.
The New Paper on Sunday wrote about Mr Goh’s plight on Oct 4, following a report in Shin Min Daily News.
The report struck a chord with many readers, who sympathised with Mr Goh, especially when the single parent revealed that he had to hold two jobs to raise his young daughter and two sons.
Many netizens responded with words of encouragement when Mr Lim started his campaign. One wrote: “Stay strong Mr Goh and don’t give up! Best wishes for a speedy recovery!”
A total of 170 donors donated $24,330 on GIVEasia. On US-based platform Indiegogo, 128 people donated US$8,330 (S$11,660).
The campaigns closed on Oct 13 and Oct 22 respectively.
On Mr Lim’s fundraising page on GIVEasia, he said that something about Mr Goh’s story made him pause.
He wrote: “Maybe it was the single parenthood or his struggle with a failed business; maybe it was his holding two jobs to desperately feed his three children. Or maybe it was how touched I was with the plight of his kids.
“Whatever the case, I decided to act in whatever little way I knew how. I turned to the Web.”
There was also a note addressing concerns of whether he would give all the monies raised to Mr Goh.
Mr Lim wrote: “I’ve promoted this fundraiser on 2 platforms using my personal profile to my family, friends AND business associates (sic).
“My reputation is worth a heck of a lot more than what I’m trying to raise for Mr Goh.
“I’m here to help, and all of this is voluntary. The only assurance I can give is my word.”
TNP understands that GIVEasia transferred a sum of about $23,700 – after deducting some bank charges – into Mr Lim’s personal account on Oct 20, a week after he closed the campaign.
In an interview on Dec 17, Mr Lim confirmed with TNP that the monies raised had been transferred to his bank account.
But he said he faced difficulties in transferring the monies to Mr Goh.
He transferred $5,000 to Mr Goh on Monday. (See report below)
TNP also spoke to a family service centre (FSC) officer in charge of Mr Goh’s case. She declined to be named.
The officer said Mr Goh informed her that by late October, he still had not received any money.
She contacted GIVEasia, who linked her to Mr Lim via e-mail.
She managed to contact Mr Lim on Nov 13 and informed him that Mr Goh had yet to receive any money.
Mr Lim told her that he had been too busy on work trips to transfer the money.
He also said he would settle the matter with Mr Goh directly.
Said the officer: “I did not want to interfere because it dealt with money, which is very sensitive. And since I was told that the money would have gone directly to Mr Goh, I thought it would be okay.”
Responding to TNP’s queries, GIVEasia co-founder Aseem Kumar Thakur said they were “very disappointed and concerned that there has been a delay in the funds being sent by (the) campaign organiser to Mr Goh”.
Lawyers whom TNP spoke to said that in an instance where a crowdfunding campaign fails to deliver, donors should make a police report.
Mr Justin Tan, an associate lawyer at Trident Law, said: “If the money has not gone to where it is supposed to go, then the first course of action would be to make a police report.”
Mr Tan said that donors should be discerning when it comes to such campaigns and that it should be made sure that the money goes into the intended recipient’s bank account.
Another lawyer, Mr Bryan Tan from Pinsent Masons, agreed.
“Essentially, a crowdfunding campaign is like a contract and you have to adhere to the contract made to the site.
“Donors who feel that their money has not been used properly should make a police report,” he said.
“It is also important to make sure the money collected goes to an individual or organisation before donating online.”
I did not want to interfere because it dealt with money, which is very sensitive.
– An FSC officer