From Straits Times forum: http://www.straitstimes.com/STForum/Story/STIStory_453192.html
Neighbour told to act as loan-shark runner
EARLY this week, my front door and gate were splashed with red paint when no one was at home. The unit number of a flat below my level and two telephone numbers were scrawled on the wall of the staircase landing.
I called one of the numbers and a loan shark told me he committed the acts because the debtor had provoked him when he threatened to harass the neighbouring units. He then asked me to get the debtor to pay up or else the harassment would continue. In other words, he expected me to be his runner!
I made a police report and the officers also took a statement from the debtor in the other unit.
According to her, her husband's friend had borrowed from the loan shark, using her husband's identity card. She told the loan shark to 'do what you like' as her husband's friend was the one who had borrowed the money.
She had also made several police reports when red paint was splashed on her immediate neighbours' front doors and gates.
If the police had been informed of such harassment in our block, I wonder why patrols have not been stepped up to nab the culprits.
Sightings of policemen making their rounds are rare in this vicinity, despite the numerous police reports. We should not be surprised that the thugs are getting bolder and more blatant as they now target flats above the debtor's unit.
Furthermore, who is liable for the cost of cleaning up this vandalism?
Josephine Tay (Mdm)
This forum letter highlights to severity of this loan-sharking epidemic. From the letter, I can gather the following:
Innocent neighbours were harassed in order to ensure the ‘actual’ borrower pay money. This means that totally innocent Singaporeans and PRs are now ‘recruited’ by this very brave loan sharks to do their bad deed.
In this particular case, the motive of the harassment was made clear to the victim. There is an audacity to get the victim to call a mobile phone number left behind by the perpetrators. This is an outright inducement to commit crime.
Reports were made to the police by both the innocent victim as well as by the family of the person whose IC was used to obtain the loan. What have the police done?
It is clear that there is a string of leads for the police to follow up?
I can count the following:
- The phone number left behind by the loan sharks. This number works and the victim actually spoke to the loan shark.
- There is the identity of the ‘borrower’. There is a fair assumption that the borrower knows the friend who borrowed the money. This friend must have known how to contact the loan sharks.
- The crime scene. The crime of vandalism at both homes will give some evidence of the tactics, materials used.
- This is a target for the loan sharks to come back for future harassment. A stake-out is necessary but has it been carried out. In the forum letter, apparently, there were already several attacks and several police reports made.
Can we count on you to save us from the clutches of the ever-more menacing loan sharks? Will the audacity of the loan sharks grow as they deploy more ways to get innocent victims to do their dirty work? Should we start a citizen vigilante who will band together at every block, armed with brooms, pans, woks and cleavers, to chase down anyone with a pail of paint.
So the obvious is to ask the OBVIOUS question again: what now, police? Please act, before it gets out of hand.