A seemingly innocuous Facebook advertisement promoting a loan application in Singapore has plunged a Malaysian family into a nightmarish ordeal, with their home in Pahang, Malaysia targeted in two arson attacks this month.
The perpetrators, allegedly hired by ruthless loan sharks, demanded RM17,189 (S$5,000) in fees from the family, who were thrust into a harrowing sequence of events.
On Sept. 11 and 15, the family’s residence fell victim to deliberate fires set by individuals acting on behalf of the loan sharks. Subsequently, on Sept. 17, the family received a shocking phone call demanding an additional S$3,000 as a “fee” for the arsonist’s services.
The unfortunate saga commenced in May when Kwan, a 29-year-old baker employed in Singapore, engaged with a Facebook ad, initially expressing interest in borrowing S$10,000. However, he later had a change of heart and attempted to cancel the application. The loan sharks, however, insisted on a S$2,000 cancellation fee.
Kwan’s wife, Chong, shared during a press conference on Monday, “They claimed that the fee could be paid in installments. My husband initially transferred S$200 to their bank account, but they insisted they did not receive the payment. This led my husband to refuse further payments.”
Chong expressed concern for her family’s safety, saying, “I quit my job due to worries about our safety, while our children have stopped attending kindergarten.”
The ordeal took a terrifying turn as the loan sharks began threatening to kidnap Kwan’s two young children, aged four and five, and successfully obtained the family’s home address in Malaysia. In response to the escalating danger, Kwan has resigned from his job and plans to return to China to address the situation.
In their quest for justice, the family has filed three police reports and sought assistance from Michael Chong, the head of the Malaysian Chinese Association’s Public Services and Complaints Department.
Michael Chong identified the culprits as Singaporean extortionists who deliberately target Malaysian victims. In light of this disturbing trend, he cautioned against resorting to loan sharks and advised seeking loans from licensed moneylenders. He also noted that the Singaporean authorities were aware of the existence of such criminal syndicates.
This harrowing tale serves as a stark reminder of the dangers associated with online financial transactions and the importance of vigilance when engaging with unfamiliar lenders. The Malaysian family’s courageous efforts to seek justice underscore the need for cross-border cooperation to combat such criminal activities.