KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - Loan sharks are resorting to new humiliation tactics to recover loans from their debtors.
They take women's underwear from the homes of debtors and display them outside the house.
This happened to carpenter Cheong Fook Lin, 29, who borrowed S$1,299 from a loan shark on May 5 to settle some pressing debts, including overdue car installments.
'I was required to pay the interest of RM1,200 a week later but I could not come up with the money. I was told the amount would double each day it was not settled. Within two weeks, the interest snowballed to RM20,000,' he said at the MCA Public Services and Complaints Bureau yesterday.
Cheong went into hiding on Wed-nesday with some relatives while his wife, Yong Choy Ling, and 6-year-old daughter went to stay with another relative.
Two days later, when Yong returned to their flat at the People's Housing Project in Raya Permai, Sungai Besi, she was horrified to find the place ransacked.
'The house was in a total mess. There was shampoo, liquid detergents and tomato sauce all over the floor, on the walls and the refrigerator.
'The culprits took my bras from my bedroom, coloured them with a marker pen and hung them across the window in the living room.
'They also took my panties, smeared shampoo over it and wrapped it on the doorknob.
'The culprit left a note with his phone number and name, Sam,' said Yong, a 28-year-old clerk.
She claimed that the culprits also took away two television sets, two DVD players, two fans, jewellery worth RM800, RM100 and Cheong's passport.
'They even took away new bed spreads and my daughter's clothes.'
Yong lodged a report at the Sungei Besi police station on Friday.
Bureau head Datuk Michael Chong said the police were looking into the case, and that this was the first time he had come across a loan shark who resorted to such tactics.
Chong also said there were 98 cases involving loan sharks reported to the bureau in the first five months of this year involving RM10 million, compared with 630 cases during the same period in 2008 and 500 cases last year.
'I expect the number of cases to increase once the football World Cup begins next month.