Woman begs loan sharks for mercy

At wit’s end: Fu (centre) talking to Phoon whose son had borrowed money from loan sharks to fund his cafe business. Looking on is Lim.

JOHOR BARU: A 45-year-old mother is at her wit’s end with up to seven loan sharks intimidating and harassing her family over one son’s debts.

She is pleading with them to leave her and her family alone.

Phoon Mei Ling said her family has been publicly shamed via social media, and their factory pelted with rotten eggs and red paint in recent months.

“I even lost my job as a property agent and had to move out from my home because of these loan sharks,” said the mother of four children, aged between 11 and 27.

Phoon said she was cutting all ties with her eldest son as he was not remorseful over what he has done to the family and was expecting them to help settle his debts.

She added that she and her husband had already helped him pay off almost RM800,000 in the past and now he has got himself into another mess and expected them to bail him out.

“I am sorry we are unable to help you, son. To the loan sharks, please leave us alone as we have nothing to do with the amount he borrowed for a cafe, which has now increased to RM400,000,” she told a press conference organised by Iskandar Puteri MCA here yesterday.

In detailing her nightmare, Phoon said her son was well behaved until he went to Australia to study accountancy in 2017.

“After one-and-a-half years, because of the influence of his friends, he wanted A$50,000 (RM150,000) for a vehicle repair shop. As we could only afford to help him with a small amount, he started borrowing from people and loan sharks.

“Subsequently, we helped him raise about RM800,000 to help pay off these debts. He then came back to work in his father’s factory in Tampoi in 2019 until March this year to repay his debts.

“This time, when he said he wanted to open a cafe with his friends, we advised him not to get involved,” she said, adding that he went against their wishes and borrowed from seven different loan sharks.

Phoon said they only found out about the problems a few months later after they started getting threatening calls in September.

“The loan sharks were demanding up to RM400,000 from us,” she said, adding that her son admitted he had opened the cafe for three months before being forced to close it.

She said that he had used their factory address to obtain the loans, which is probably why it was the site of all the vandalism.

“Our family photos, inscribed with threatening notes, were even posted to our friends’ social media accounts. I am worried for the safety of my three other children,” she said, adding that each day she gets between four to five threatening calls from the loan sharks.

She has already lodged four police reports.

MCA councillors Lim Soon Hai and Joseph Fu said they hoped the loan sharks would leave the family alone.

They also urged police to clamp down on loan sharks as they were getting many such complaints from the public.

Meanwhile, an official from the North Johor Baru district police headquarters confirmed the reports and said investigations were underway.

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