THREE cars went up in flames at a multi-storey car park early Wednesday morning in a suspected attack by loan sharks going after a borrower.

Slips of papers bearing the words 'O$P$' (owe money, pay money) were found near a white Lexus - the car most severely damaged. It is believed to be the first time loan sharks have torched cars in an attempt to get debtors to pay up.

It is understood that the Lexus was torched before the fire spread to the two cars parked beside it on the second floor of the car park near Block 759 Choa Chu Kang North 5. The bonnet and engine of the Lexus were badly damaged. The two other cars were burnt on the sides.

Officers from the Singapore Civil Defence Force took 10 minutes to put out the fire. No one was injured. Police have classified the case as mischief by fire and investigations are ongoing.

In December last year, two cars parked at a car park in Choa Chu Kang Street 64 were splashed with paint and had the words 'O$P$' scrawled on them.

Loan sharks have been known to splash paint on doors, pour oil along corridors or lock gates with thick metal chains. Shoe racks and cabinets left outside homes have also been set on fire.

New tactic: Torch cars