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Exposing new dirty tricks of ah longs

Now, instead of harassing just the debtors, the loan sharks also send hell notes threatening harm to their neighbours. -My Paper
Cao Baoying

Sat, Jan 05, 2013
My Paper

SINGAPORE - A new tactic being used by loan sharks to pressure debtors was exposed on Stomp this week.

Now, instead of harassing just the debtors, the loan sharks also send hell notes threatening harm to their neighbours.

Stomper Zubin wrote in to Stomp after receiving hell notes in his letterbox, accompanied by a threatening letter warning that "something nasty" would happen to him if his neighbour did not pay up.

Zubin mused about how "Ah Longs" these days do not simply shout and threaten people with parangs.

Instead, they are getting more organised and "even bother spending 26 cents" on a stamp to send hell notes and letters to the debtors' neighbours.

This is just one of the e-mail messages that Stomp received recently about the evolving tactics of loan sharks.

Here are other dirty tricks they employ that the public should be aware of:

Depositing money into an unsuspecting victim's bank account.

One new tactic employed by loan sharks is to transfer money into victims' accounts, before demanding that they return the cash with interest.

Stomper Kenji, who was one such victim, was shocked when he received a text message from an unknown person, informing him that a loan of $380 had been transferred to his POSB account.

The sender also demanded that Kenji make weekly repayments of $160. Kenji later received a call and was told that if he did not pay up, his parents would die.

The Stomper decided to make a police report.

Threatening a victim who refuses a loan

Stomper Cool Sapphie received a phone call asking her to take up a loan.

She said the caller identified himself as a loan shark, and added that he knew all her personal details.

He asked her to "pay him weekly till he's happy", or pay a one-time sum of $3,000 to settle the matter.

Sapphie refused and reported the matter to the police.

However, the caller still threatened her, and said that there was no point reporting the matter to the police.

She wondered how innocent parties could be threatened in this manner, and how her details were leaked.

Starting a fire outside a debtor's former home

A month after Stomper MS moved into a flat in Toa Payoh Lorong 8, the police informed him one night that a fire had occurred outside the unit.

MS found out later that the fire was probably started by loan sharks, who were harassing the former owner of the flat.

Unfortunately for the Stomper, the loan sharks did not seem to be aware that the debtor had moved out.

The Stomper, who has a seven-year-old daughter, is worried about his family's safety.

MS hopes his Stomp report will make it known to the loan sharks that the flat has changed hands.

The Stomper feels that he should not have to live in fear because of the irresponsible attitude of the former owner and the loan sharks' viciousness.

MS also hopes that by raising awareness of the situation, no innocent parties will be hurt.

These recent reports help to keep members of the public informed about loan sharks, so that they will not fall prey to these crooks' unscrupulous tactics.

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