'Why spoil our son's future?'

'Why spoil our son's future?'

SINGAPORE - It was an act of stupidity, what his wife did with their young child. She took him along to deface the home of an alleged loan shark debtor.

And the man is angry.

But the father of the then-11 year old son said he still loves her, is ready to forgive her, and will wait for her.

The woman, a 43-year-old housewife, was yesterday jailed four years and seven months and slapped with a $150,000 fine after pleading guilty to four counts of loan-shark harassment and five counts of assisting unlicensed moneylenders in carrying out their business.

Sixteen other charges for similar offences were taken into consideration during sentencing.

Her husband, Roger, 47, told The New Paper yesterday: "I told my wife: 'If you wanted to do something like this, you could have done it yourself. Why would you want to spoil our son's future? He could get into trouble!"

We are not naming the man, to protect the identity of the child.

Even though he was angry, Roger, who is an engineer, said he knew his wife must have been really desperate to do what she did.

He said: "Maybe she did not want to get caught as there could be CCTV cameras around. That was why she asked my son to do it."

"She was feeling really desperate and could see no other way. No mother loves her children like how my wife loves her kids."

Roger said he was traumatised when the police arrested his wife in their flat in the northern part of Singapore on July 22.

He said all their six children - three males and three females, between six and 22 years old - were at home when police officers handcuffed his wife and took her away.

"It was heartbreaking to see your wife of 25 years being treated that way. My two youngest kids were crying, but there was nothing I could do to help her," he said.

So how did she get herself involved with loan sharks?

Roger, the family's sole breadwinner who earns $4,500 a month, said that before her wife got involved with them, the family had never been in any financial problems.

According to his wife, whom he described as "naive", it started in 2009 when she decided to earn some extra income. She had found a job as an administrator for what she thought was a licensed moneylender.

His wife told him that her job was to verify debtors' addresses from the copies of their identity cards that they had handed over. Her boss also asked her to give him a copy of her NRIC and she did as she was told.

Roger said: "She told me that she later received a phone call from a loan shark, claiming that she had been the guarantor of one of his debtors. And she denied this.

"She did not tell me the amount, but she was told that she would have to get the debtor to pay up. Otherwise, she would have to pay from her own pocket. She tried to phone her boss, but he could not be contacted any more."

TANGLED

She quickly became tangled with the loan sharks, and in 2011, she stole her husband's pendant worth $9,300 and sold it for $4,500 to repay them.

Said Roger: "The pendant looked like a gold bar and I bought it as an investment. We had an argument and she left the flat with three of our children. I became really worried for them. They were more important to me than the gold bar."

He added that his wife returned home with the children about a week later and he was relieved that they were all safe.

However, the law caught up with her and she was arrested for being involved with unlicensed moneylenders.

Roger said that once, when his wife was in remand, he received a phone call for her from a loan shark who asked for $500 in unpaid debts.

He said he immediately transferred the money over.

But the next day, he said he received a call from 10 other loan sharks all claiming that she had borrowed money from them as well.

Without revealing any details, Roger said that he had to borrow thousands of dollars from his loved ones to try pay off these unlicensed moneylenders, but the calls never stopped coming.

For now, the family is trying their best to cope without her, and Roger said that he misses her.

He said: "When she gets out of prison, I just want her to continue being a loving wife and caring mother, just like how she was before she ended up in jail."


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