KLUANG: After his investment turned sour, a Singaporean businessman decided to hire debt collectors who used strongarm tactics in an effort to recover money from his Malaysian business partner whose family is based here.
It is learnt that the businessman had invested more than RM120,000 in a company servicing air-conditioners that operated in Singapore but which was run by the Malaysian.
Police sources said that the Singaporean had pumped in the capital and was promised good returns before the deal went bad.
After failing to regain his investment from the Malaysian, the Singaporean hired debt collectors to harass the former’s family at their home in a quiet neighbourhood in Kluang.
In a video that has since gone viral on Oct 23, four men are seen using loudhailers outside of the house in an attempt to persuade the Malaysian man to come out and negotiate a settlement.
The men spoke in Malay and in Chinese and even put up a banner in front of the house.
It is learnt that a 60-year-old man, believed to be the Malaysian man’s father, had lodged a report against the strongarm tactics used by the four debt collectors in front of his home.
The father claimed that he has not seen his son for several years after the latter moved to Singapore to work.
Police have since arrested and remanded four men in their 30s in connection with the case, which is being investigated under the Moneylenders Act 1951 and the Penal Code for public nuisance.
Police sources said that the case was more of a personal business dispute between two businessmen and a debt collection company rather than a case involving illegal loan sharks.
When contacted, Kluang deputy OCPD Deputy Supt Nik Mohd Azmi Husin confirmed the arrest of the four debt collectors.
He also warned debt collectors to strictly adhere to the conditions of their licences and to not cause public disturbance.
In an unrelated case, Johor police chief Comm Datuk Kamarul Zaman Mamat said police have arrested eight people who had been working for an illegal moneylending syndicate for threatening and intimidating borrowers.
He said the suspects aged between 16 and 43 were detained between Oct 22 and Oct 25 in Kota Tinggi, Seri Alam and Segamat.
Comm Kamarul Zaman said all eight were hired by the syndicate to threaten and intimidate borrowers who had failed to settle their debts.
“The modus operandi is to splash paint on and start fires at the premises of the borrowers,” he said, adding that police also seized 15 mobile phones, three cans of paint and three cars.
He added that the syndicate has been active since August and would pay the men RM600 to splash paint and RM1,000 to start fires.
Comm Kamarul Zaman said the syndicate would advertise its services on Facebook by claiming to be a legitimate moneylender based in Singapore.
He said the money would be transferred to the borrowers’ bank account after the victims had given their account details and home addresses.
“The syndicate targets Malaysians working in Singapore, and it will go after their families in Malaysia if the borrowers fail to settle their debts,” said Comm Kamarul Zaman.
He said with the arrest of the eight suspects, police have solved 45 cases related to illegal moneylending activities in Johor Baru, Iskandar Puteri, Kulai, Kluang, Seri Alam, Kota Tinggi, Muar, Pontian, Batu Pahat and Segamat.
Comm Kamarul Zaman added that the arrests of the eight have also solved four cases in Melaka and one in Negri Sembilan.