Chong: It’s a trap – loan sharks will haunt you forever

KUALA LUMPUR: He borrowed money from an ah long and paid it back, but he was 90 minutes late.

Now the ah long is threatening his family if he does not pay RM500 for every 30 minutes he is late.

The victim, who wished to be known only as Chan, 25, fears for his family’s safety.

“I borrowed RM3,000 from the loan shark called J.J. on Dec 31 and paid the full amount.

“Now he is demanding an extra RM1,500 as penalty for paying late and is threatening to chop my hands off and hurt my family,” he said.

Chan has since lodged a police report.

The insurance agent was speaking at a press conference held by MCA Public Services and Complaints Department chairman Datuk Seri Michael Chong at Wisma MCA yesterday.

Chong said that the ah long menace is getting out of hand by the second.

“They are getting more and more unreasonable. This year alone, in the first 19 days, I have dealt with 16 cases of people owing ah long more than RM2.11mil,” he said.

Chong even called J.J. on the phone at the press conference and placed it on speaker mode for everyone to hear.

He tried reasoning with the loan shark to leave Chan’s family alone, but J.J. was not having any of it.

“I don’t have to listen to you. I will do what must be done to get him to pay,” said the loan shark.

Chong urged everyone to stay away from unlicensed moneylenders and be cautious about who they borrowed from.

“There is no paper trail and you never meet them face to face. Even the bank accounts they give you are not under their names, so it is very difficult for the police to track them down,” he said.

“Once they trap you, these conmen will make you pay forever, until they destroy not only your life but the lives of your loved ones too.”

He said the ah long were becoming more brazen as they believed that the authorities could not track them down.

“None of their phone numbers, for example, are registered under their own identities. They will usually register it under the names of foreigners.

“When I call to confront them about some of my cases, they dare to challenge me and even tell me to get the authorities to act against them.

“They also use mule accounts for the transfer of funds, so those arrested so far are the mules.

“The real culprits remain unknown,” he said, adding that those backing the ah long could be people with titles such as “Datuk”.

With only five more months before the World Cup begins, he expects a rise in cases of people borrowing and being hunted down by debt collectors.

He said others trapped in the loan sharks’ nets were people involved in money games, get-rich-quick schemes, people living beyond their means and those with failing businesses.

Chong said borrowers would rake up an exorbitant amount of debts due to the high interest rate charged – between 20% and 30%.

“Some are charged by the hour,” he added.

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