JOHOR BARU: Despite numerous media reports and warnings about the hardship people endure in the hands of loan sharks, many continue to fall prey almost daily.
The application process is easy as victims only need to provide pay slips for three months, a copy of their identify card and contact numbers for one or two referrals or family members to get a RM1,000 loan within two hours.
However, the interest rate is a whopping 20% to 30% per month and the harassment starts soon after the victim misses making a payment according to the schedule agreed upon.
In the latest case, a father of three is now living in fear after borrowing money from 18 loan sharks over the past three years.
The 33-year-old, who only wanted to be known as Amy, said that the loan sharks were now harassing him and had even threatened to harm his family.
“I only borrowed between RM1,000 to RM8,000 but the amount has snowballed to more than RM40,000.
“I do not know what to do and turned to MCA for help,” he said, adding that he also lodged a police report on the matter.
Amy added that he regretted taking his friend’s advice to borrow money to buy clothes to celebrate Hari Raya three years ago.
“I started borrowing from other loan sharks to cover my previous debts.
“The loan sharks even kept my bank ATM card and only gave me RM1,000 to spend from my salary of RM3,000 per month,” he said.
He thanked Johor MCA Bureau of Coordinating Government Affairs chairman Michael Tay for helping to look into his case.
Amy added that the harassment and threats became worse when he changed his bankcard pin number this year as he did not have enough money to make ends meet.
On why he did not take a personal loan to settle his problems, he said that no banks would lend him money as he was blacklisted after he failed to meet his car payments in the past and the vehicle was repossessed.
He said that he has learnt a bitter experience after borrowing from loan sharks and vowed never to return to them for help.
Amy sought the assistance of Tay, who has since managed to negotiate the sum to RM20,000, which is half the original amount.
Tay said that now Amy has to pay back only eight of the loan sharks.
“I will try to help him raise the money as he has three young children aged three, nine and 10 to feed, as well as his wife and in-laws to look after,” he added.
Tay added that despite increased police operations against loan sharks, he was still helping an average of three victims a week.
He added that loan sharks were going high-tech as they were now advertising their services via the Internet, mainly on social media.
Meanwhile, a police officer from Sri Alam confirmed receiving a report from Amy in connection with the case.