Food trader harassed after daughter's aborted attempt to borrow money


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 09 Jul 2020

IPOH: A food trader is living in fear after the gate of her rented house in Falim here was set on fire.

The trader, who only wanted to be known as Fong, said the incident occurred on July 1 and was likely connected to an attempt by her 26-year-old daughter, who works in Singapore, to borrow money.

Her daughter made a request online to borrow money from a "licensed" moneylender. Although she later decided not to proceed with it and did not receive any money, her family is now being harassed.

"It first started on June 5 when a man called and asked for my home address as he had a parcel to deliver.

"It was suspicious as my family didn't buy anything, and we were not expecting anything to be delivered," she said during a press conference called by Perak Barisan Nasional Public Complaints Bureau chief Mohd Rawi Abdullah here on Thursday (July 9).

"But thinking that it could be from my daughter, I gave the address to the man.

"I then called my daughter and was told that it was a scam," she said.

"A week later, two men on a motorcycle threw red paint on my porch, damaging a car, and left a note threatening to burn my house down if I didn't settle my daughter's debt," Fong said, adding that it happened again in the following weeks.

"Then it (the fire) finally happened.

"The CCTV at my home caught two men throwing something at the gate that caused a fire before they sped away in a car," she said.

Fong's daughter, Mala, said via a video call that in June she searched the Internet for licensed moneylenders. She wanted to borrow S$10,000 (RM30,630) to pay off some bank obligation.

Mala, who works as an operator in Singapore, said she found one and sent in an application.

"The next day, a man called Jimmy, who claimed to be from the moneylending agency, texted me via WhatsApp.

"He requested some documents from me, three emergency contact numbers, including my mother's, and a picture of me in front of my home as part of the process to get the loan," she said.

"He also voice-messaged me, asking me to transfer S$1,100 (RM3,369) as processing fee and subsequently another S$2,200 (RM6,738).

"Feeling something was amiss, I told him I wanted to cancel the application, but was told to pay 40% of the loan amount to do so," she added.

Mala said she then contacted the agency and was told that they did not have any worker called Jimmy.

"I then lodged a police report and was advised to stop entertaining the man's calls," she said.

"I also checked my bank account and found that the man had transferred S$300 (RM918) into my account, but the money had been frozen.

"I found out later that my mother was being harassed on the same day I lodged the police report," she added.

Rawi said he believed such incidents were the work of scammers and not loan sharks.

"Real loan sharks don't ask for processing fees.

"I've received several similar complaints, and I hope the police will look into these incidents," he said.

"I would also advise people to be more careful if they want to search the Internet for licensed moneylenders," he added.

When contacted, Ipoh OCPD Asst Comm A. Asmadi Abdul Aziz said their investigation was still ongoing.

He questioned the need for Fong to call a press conference as it could affect their investigation.

“Let us investigate and confirm the facts on what transpired, ” he said.

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Scam , Fire , Gate , Loan sharks , Scam

   

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