This must be a parent's worst nightmare - to be hounded by loan sharks, because your son is unable to repay a loan. (Click here to read the original article published in the Star today).
These loan sharks or 'Ah Longs' as they are popularly referred to in Malaysia and Singapore are known for their ruthless methods of collecting payment. If splashing red paint on their hapless victims' car or front door doesn't prove effective, they will resort to more violent tactics to collect their debts, including cutting off the fingers and ears of the victims. Yet there is no shortage of people who will seek out Ah Longs to borrow money from.
|Two loan shark victims who were chained and locked up in a cell by debt collectors. They were rescued by the police. Photo: Bernama|
Ah Longs are the lenders of last resort for these desperate people who have nowhere else to turn to for loans. Either because they are blacklisted, declared bankrupts or lack collateral, they are unable to get a loan from legitimate financial institutions. So they seek out Ah Longs who are more accommodating. These loan sharks ask no questions, demand no collateral and are prepared to give loans immediately. They charge high interests and make good their threats if a borrower defaults on his loan repayment.
These Ah Longs seems to have unlimited financial resources. Where does their money come from? And why are they so willing to offer loans to people who have almost no chance of ever settling their loans, and whom banks consider as high risk borrowers? Excuse my ignorance, but can anyone provide some answers?
These mostly unlicensed money lenders blatantly advertise their loan services. Their contact numbers can be seen plastered on bus stops, street lights, road signs and shop pillars. Despite numerous reports of criminal acts committed by Ah Longs and their henchmen, few have been hauled up by the police to face charges in court. They are openly and defiantly operating under the very noses of the police. The government has invested millions of ringgit into high tech equipment and training the police force, yet they are unable to smash these unscrupulous gangs of sharks. It seems as if the police are no match for these scoundrels. Incredulous!
|Photo: The Star|
(Photo above: Another reported case. Parents Chong, 72 and Chan, 73 faced constant harassment from loan sharks when their 43 -year old son defaulted on his loan repayment.)
Should you require advice on debt management, do make an appointment with AKPK, an agency set up by Bank Negara to counsel folks on how best to settle their debts and how to manage their finances to avoid getting into debt. The counselling service is free. You can call for an appointment at 603 2616 7766 or drop by at their office at Level 8, Maju Junction Mall, 1001 Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur.