HIS WIFE has threatened to divorce him and his family also wants to sever ties with him.
Picture-frame maker Chuah Chee Hooi burst into tears as he told of how his family and friends are shunning him because of debts totaling RM60,000 from 11 loan sharks.
The 48-year-old was inconsolable, saying that his wife and three children were also not talking to him at home.
“They treat me as though I am not there. I feel an emptiness when I am home. My elder brother is also not talking to me and wants to cut ties with me.
“All my friends say they are busy whenever I ask them out for drinks,” he said in between sobs at a press conference held by Perak Barisan Nasional Public Service and Complaints Centre Chief Mohd Rawi Abdullah here on Tuesday.
Chuah said he was forced to borrow from loan sharks to pay fake loan providers he came across on Facebook.
“My name was blacklisted by banks because of unpaid credit card bills. I scoured Facebook and found two companies offering loans earlier this month,” he said, adding that he needed RM40,000 to settle the bills and renovate his shop.
“It did not strike me at first that these were scammers until it was too late.”
Chuah said the companies required various payments to get “approval” for the money they promised to lend him.
“They kept telling me to pay this fee or that penalty before they could release the money to me. I’ve lost about RM20,000 to the scammers.
“I thought I could pay back the loan sharks, given that my business was growing,” he added.
Chuah said he was also beaten up by some people, believed to be sent by the loan sharks.
“They’ve also taken things from my shop, including items belonging to my customers. I’m in constant fear now when I open shop.
“I don’t even have money now to buy materials for my work,” said Chuah, who has lodged three police reports.
“I hope people can learn from my mistake and don’t get cheated by the scammers,” he added.
Mohd Rawi urged the police and Home Ministry to come down hard on loan sharks.
“It’s wrong for the loan sharks to send people to beat him up and take his things.
“There are laws in this country. The police need to be serious against the loan sharks.”
He added that he would try to negotiate with the loan sharks on Chuah’s behalf on how to settle the debt.