Punishing borrowers not the solution

Punishing borrowers not the solution

While I empathise with Ms Suhaidah Banu Akber Ali's plight, her suggestion to punish borrowers will only serve to embolden loan sharks in their harassment ("Consider punishing those who borrow from loan sharks"; last Friday).

This is because borrowers would hesitate to report the loan sharks to the police when harassed, for fear of the punitive law.

In our centre, the Gamblers Recovery Centre, clients have often asked whether they would be charged for borrowing from loan sharks should they lodge a report against them.

Often, it is with our assurance that they will not be punished that they have the courage to take the matter to the police.

A recent report showed that current laws in place are effective, as the number of cases of harassment by loan sharks has fallen ("CCTVs help cops nab more loan-shark runners"; May 16).

With more closed-circuit television camerasinstalled in every block and in carparks, loan sharks would be deterred further in their activities. It is my hope that those caught in the snare of harassment by loan sharks would not have to face punishment by the law as well.

That would be an added grievance - a totally unjustifiable one.

Billy Lee Director

Gamblers Recovery Centre

Blessed Grace Social Services

This article was first published on May 26, 2014.
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