Food delivery rider attacked after he was allegedly tricked by loanshark to harass debtor

Helmi Amy claims he was used by loansharks to harass a debtor, and was almost punched in the face.
PHOTO: Facebook/Helmi Amy

From dealing with unreasonable customers to being exposed to dangers on the road, delivery riders already have it tough. 

Now, on top of dealing with the daily challenges of his job, one delivery rider found himself an unwitting 'assistant' to an alleged loanshark.

The rider, who goes by the username Helmi Amy, recounted his experience on Facebook last Sunday (Sept 4), warning fellow delivery riders against being used by loansharks to harass their debtors. 

Helmi posted that a customer was using a Malaysian phone number and the name Stafen Ho to place a $13.10 food order to be delivered to a HDB flat.

Helmi did not share the location of this place. 

And Ho's 'wife' was supposed to pay with cash when the order arrives. 

Uploading screenshots of his WhatsApp conversation with Ho, Helmi wrote: "He told me to bang the door loudly as his wife [was] sleeping, but actually he [the loanshark] was online with me via [WhatsApp]." 

Unfortunately, Helmi was greeted by the debtor's brother who swung at him thinking he was a loanshark.

The delivery rider posted that he "gave that brother one shot", presumably that he retaliated with a punch as well. 

Helmi also posted a video showing the debtor's father outside their HDB flat attempting to mediate the situation. In the video, he could be seen handing Helmi some money to pay for the food delivered. 

However, Helmi said that he refused to accept the payment, telling the man that he wanted his son to pay instead since he was the one who incurred the debt. 

Responding to netizens in the comments, Helmi explained he didn't make a police report as felt it was not worth doing so for such a small amount of money.

However, he shared that he did email Grab about the incident. 

In addition, Helmi also offered to share the address with his fellow delivery riders so that they could reject future orders pertaining to this unit. 

AsiaOne has reached out to Helmi and Grab for further comment. 

Don't fall prey to vultures

In April 2020, the police issued an advisory warning against unlicensed moneylenders making use of food delivery services to harass debtors.

They explained that the unlicensed moneylenders would order large quantities of food or make multiple orders on the same day, and arrange for the food to be delivered to the debtors' homes, often late at night. 

Sometimes, food would also be delivered to debtors' relatives. 

“The police have zero tolerance for loanshark harassment activities," they wrote. 

“Those who deliberately cause annoyance and disruption to public sense of safety, peace and security will be arrested and dealt with severely in accordance with the law.”

Ah-longs change tactics this circuit-breaker period from spraying paint to splashing food. Though their runners stay...

Posted by Amrin Amin on Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Commenting on the matter on Facebook at the time, Amrin Amin, who was Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs, said: "Our poor deliverers and food places suffer losses. Different tactics, same aim -  intimidate, harass, shame."

"I know times are bad. But please don't fall prey to vultures."

Just last year, residents of two blocks in Upper Aljunied and Ang Mo Kio had multiple delivery riders show up at their doors, bringing orders that they never asked for

Speaking to Shin Min Daily News then, the Ang Mo Kio resident, who declined to be named, said he had never borrowed money from loansharks.

The 50-year-old said he had eight delivery riders show up at his front door, which shocked his 81-year-old mother. 

The other resident at Upper Aljunied told the Chinese daily that she had 12 riders congregating at her block's parking area. She subsequently lodged a police report. 

ALSO READ: Loan shark harasses family by sending them $800 worth of food

claudiatan@asiaone.com