KUALA LUMPUR: A 26-year-old man paid a heavy price for being too trusting – in this case, in a childhood friend. As a result, he was cheated of more than RM3mil over fake honorary titles and “police affiliations”.
Admitting that he was motivated by pride, Tan Yong Sheng from Sabak Bernam, Selangor, said his childhood friend asked him to join a non-existent “Kelab Bekas Polis Selangor” to enjoy VIP benefits.
“We met in our hometown two years ago and he seemed to be doing quite well as a businessman in China.
“He told me I would get car emblems and certificates that would enable me to enjoy VIP benefits, which would be good for my business too,” said Tan, who manages his family business as a coconut distributor.
After being convinced, Tan paid his friend more than RM1mil via cheques and online transfers between July 2017 and April this year for monthly donations, membership renewals and rebranding fee.
During this time, he also paid another RM2mil to the same man to start a logistics company, as well as for more VIP membership registrations at several associations and miscellaneous fees.
In return, Tan received certificates proving his club membership and a permit to display the club’s logo on his car, and several emblems and car stickers bearing the club’s logo and the Coat of Arms of Malaysia with the labels “VVIP” and ahli kehormat (honorary member).
Tan said he borrowed more than RM1mil from loan sharks after his father found out about the cheque payments and suspended the cheque book last month.
“When I could no longer pay my friend the membership renewal fee, he told me he would settle the sum for me first but wanted me to sign a friendly loan agreement with him,” he said, adding that he signed three agreements with the man amounting to RM2.69mil.
Tan only noticed something amiss when he asked his friend about their company’s progress.
“He tried to coax me into signing another loan agreement to speed things up. When I refused, he started threatening me and harassing my family and girlfriend.
“He defamed me as a conman on Facebook by posting my MyKad. He also sent a legal letter demanding that I pay up for the agreement that I signed earlier,” said Tan, who lodged a police report on Monday.
Accompanied by his parents and girlfriend at a press conference held at Wisma MCA here yesterday, Tan said he regretted his carelessness.
“I am especially sorry to my parents, who have to repay the loan sharks on my behalf now,” he said.
MCA Public Services and Complaints Department head Datuk Seri Michael Chong said he still receives cases of people paying for unrecognised honorific titles.
“We even get such complaints from Chinese businessmen doing business in Malaysia.
“They were required to pay between RM60,000 and RM100,000 for a fake title,” he said, adding that it was an offence to use fake titles and many people were not aware of it.
Department legal adviser Datuk Theng Book said MCA was helping Tan and liaising with the police, who are looking for the man.