Shopping addict hospitalised after debts pile up

Datuk Seri Michael Chong (sitting, right) holding a press conference regarding a woman who attempted to commit suicide twice due to a mental disorder and still being harassed by money lenders. With him are Datuk Dr Lai Kwong Choy (sitting, left) and the woman's husband Mr Lim (red cap). —SAMUEL ONG/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Mounting debts from money lenders led to a suicide attempt that has now left a woman hospitalised.

Chik, aged 30, had amassed huge debts since the beginning of the year.

A compulsive obsession to shop led to multiple loans from money lenders. From Jan 2023 till now she had borrowed money from at least 39 money lenders with a combined debt of RM67,200.

In addition, she had also used her husband's details to accrue additional loans, leading to another RM49,500 from 13 other money lenders.

On April 17, her husband, 32-year-old Lim, found a letter written by his wife, in which she apologised and asked him to take care of their children. After searching for her he noticed that the door to her room was locked and after numerous calls to her remained unanswered, he broke the door down.

"She was on the floor in a weak state and there were medicine bottles nearby. I rushed her to the Sungai Buloh hospital," he said at a press conference today at Wisma MCA.

Doctors treating his wife also found injuries to her neck that were self-inflicted.

Lim told the media that his wife was not a gambler or was involved in any investments. The money loaned was used to fuel her compulsive behaviour.

"My room is full of things. Including things like paper and stationery," he said, adding that the items bought would be random.

MCA Public Services and Complaints Department head Datuk Seri Michael Chong, who organised the press conference, said that Lim originally found out about the debt after being pestered with flyers by money lenders on April 15.

"It seems that she had had this disorder since before they were married. She is still being treated in the hospital and hopefully she recovers soon," he said.

Datuk Dr Lai Kwong Choy, who interviewed Lim, said that his wife showed signs of manic behaviour and that her actions resulted from her disease.

"Everybody tends to spend a little more than usual if it's the holiday season but they would be able to stop themselves from going overboard. However, people that suffer from such manic behaviour are unable to think of the consequences.

"Then after doing so they can be filled with a lot of negative thoughts, which then leads to depression. I urge all to rush their loved ones to seek medical help if they see such behaviour," he said.

Those in need of help and counselling can reach out to: Mental Health Psychosocial Support Service (03-2935 9935 or 014-322 3392); Talian Kasih (15999 or WhatsApp 019-261 5999); Jakim’s Family, Social and Community Care Centre (WhatsApp 0111-959 8214); and Befrienders Kuala Lumpur (03-7627 2929) or checkout for a full list of numbers and operating hours).

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