Usurers now use fire instead of red paint


JOHOR BARU: After the movement control order was imposed in March, a public complaints office here received more than 40 reports of cases involving Ah Long using scare tactics or criminal intimidation.

Pasir Gudang MCA, deputy public complaints bureau chief Ang Tun Chek, said most of the complaints came from people staying here with family members working in Singapore.

He believes the illegal money lenders are part of a union that has used various fear-mongering methods to ensure compliance.

“In the past, red paint was splashed on the homes and vehicles of victims before notes were sent threatening them with damage if they didn’t pay.

“But lately Ah Long has completely stopped using paints. Instead, they will record themselves setting the homes of the victims on fire before sending the video clips to the victims to scare them, ”he said in an interview here yesterday.

According to him, the union generally used mobile phone numbers registered in Singapore to contact victims.

He sent messages via WhatsApp, claiming that the victim’s family member in the island republic had borrowed some money and demanding repayment.

“The Ah Long will also send photos of the family member’s ID card, work permit and other details such as home address, telephone number and bank account number to substantiate their claim. claim and cause panic, ”he said. When the victims try to call the Singapore number, it is unreachable. But contact via WhatsApp is possible, making it difficult to track the Ah Long.

The Ah Long would seek debt repayments from as low as S $ 300 (RM 914) and S $ 500 (RM 1,523) to S $ 63,000 (RM 191,763), Ang said.

In October, the office was told of three local YouTubers threatened by a union Ah Long, who asked them

to pay off a debt of S $ 63,000 (RM 191,677) allegedly incurred by one of the relatives of the victims in Singapore. Ang said that in most complaints, victims and their family members claimed that they had not borrowed money. But out of fear for their safety, some victims have paid money to stop further harassment.

“They should have refrained from giving in to Ah Long’s demands and immediately turned to the police or seek help from a mediating body or non-governmental organization,” he said.

Ang said there were cases where victims had actually borrowed money from Ah Long but were unable to make the monthly payment due to the economic downturn.

Meanwhile, Pulai MCA’s public complaints bureau chief Jimmy Tan Sin Meng said an elderly couple lived in fear after their house burned down.

Initially, the couple’s home in Taman Bukit Indah was sprayed with paint and set on fire on August 28.

On Sunday, the authors filmed themselves sticking a note on the front door before throwing a molotov cocktail in the grounds of the house.

Tan said the couple moved after the first incident.

Iskandar Puteri OCPD Asst Comm Dzulkhairi Mukhtar said the case was under investigation.

Johor Police Chief Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay has advised the public to file a police report if he is a victim of Ah Long.

“There have been cases where victims have claimed that they have been harassed even though they have not borrowed from illegal money lenders.

“But our investigations showed that they or their family members had indeed borrowed the money.

“We have also received cases where individuals only inquired about illegal money lending services, but Ah Long allegedly transferred money to their bank account without their knowledge.

“Please file a police report so that we can investigate,” Ayob said after a press conference at Johor Police Headquarters yesterday.

The public can come to the nearest police station to file a complaint or call the Johor Police Hotline on 07-221 2999.

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