JOHOR BARU - A gullible single mother has lost everything - including her house - after falling victim in two separate scams.
In the first scam, the 30-year-old was duped into paying RM3,200 (S$1,200) to bogus courier agents to release a parcel purportedly containing valuables and cash totalling US$800,000 (S$997,000). In the second, she lost her home to an Ah Long in a bogus business deal which, she was told, would help her pay off her housing loan.
The victim, Lim Siew Ling, said her nightmare began when she befriended a 40-year-old man while working in a salon in Singapore two years ago.
"The man known as Brown from Britain would come by our shop for a pedicure," she said, adding that after he had returned to Britain, she did not hear from him until February this year when Brown told Lim that he had bought her a gift and wanted to send it to her.
"I did not take it seriously until early February when I got a call from a courier company saying that there was a parcel from Britain and I would need to pay RM1,700 to get it released from the Customs Department at KL International Airport," she said.
Lim said she then contacted Brown who told her he had sent gifts including perfumes, a mobile phone and US$800,000 in cash.
"I used my savings to bank in the money but the couriers called me again within a week asking for another RM4,000 and RM3,500 as processing fees," she said.
Lim then borrowed the amount from two loans sharks.
"After giving me the RM7,500 cash, one of them told me he could help settle my housing loan," she said, adding that she became worried after the loan sharks told her that she was a bankrupt.
Lim said she did whatever the two men told her including taking her to the bank to get the house grant, going to lawyers to sign legal documents and cashing a cheque for RM50,000 at a bank.
"By the time I realised that I had been duped, it was too late. The men had transferred the house into their name," she said, adding that they demanded RM110,000 from her to return the house. She also did not get any parcel from Brown.
Lim said she had been living in fear. In March this year, the loan sharks came and padlocked her home.
"I was worried for the safety of my five-year-old son and decided to flee my house. I am now living with my family in a different state," she told press conference organised by Gelang Patah MCA.
Gelang Patah MCA secretary Lim Soon Hai hoped the lawyer involved in the case would do the right thing by handing the house back to Lim as they planned to report the matter to the Malaysian Bar Council.
Soon Hai said Lim had also agreed to pay the RM7,500 borrowed from the loan sharks.
Police are investigating several reports lodged by the victim.