In a series of unfortunate events, a 53-year-old private-hire car driver, who prefers to remain anonymous, found himself in a debt trap after a failed investment in foreign exchange (forex) and borrowing money from loan sharks.

Speaking to Shin Min Daily News, the man, referred to as Ah Seng, revealed that he invested in forex last year but lost $12,000 USD (approximately $16,188) due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures

It all started with those SMSes that we’re still receiving even today.

“Desperate for money, I chanced upon a text message from a loan shark, Ah Long, claiming they could provide financial support,” said Ah Seng.

In a moment of desperation, he contacted Ah Long and borrowed $750 at an interest rate of 20%. Little did he know that this decision would lead to a snowballing debt.

Unable to pay off the mounting interest, Ah Seng found himself borrowing from other loan sharks to settle his debts, with the largest sum being $5,000. Eventually, he owed a total of $150,000 to ten different loan sharks.

He shared that he was supposed to repay the debt by 20 August , but was unable to do so, which prompted a warning call from Ah Long that very night.

And that was when shit hits the fan.

Remember back in the days, when loan sharks would disturber debtors by ordering food delivery to their address?

This time, the loan shark gets a tad more creative.

Ah Send said that the next day, people started coming to his house frequently, claiming they were there to collect gifts. About five to six people would show up each day, and the number would increase to around 20 groups on Saturdays, causing a lot of trouble.

He later discovered that someone had impersonated him and posted at least seven messages in a Telegram group, falsely claiming to give away free durians, helmets, projectors, bicycles, and fans.

Image: Shin Min Daily News

In one of the messages, the person said that he is giving out 2kg of Mao Shan Wang durian per person, and urged people to head to a specific address to collect. He didn’t provide more details, except that it should be collected before 10pm, and that this giveaway will last for seven days.

Apparently, people do believe in free things.

Ah Seng disclosed that approximately 50 members of the public visited his house after seeing the posts on Telegram and inquiring about the address from the person who posted them. “I believe this is a harassment tactic by Ah Long. At this point, repaying the debt seems increasingly difficult, and I can only hope that Ah Long stops harassing me and my family,” he said.

The police confirmed that they had received a report on the matter.

Ah Seng added that the police informed him that Ah Long had registered many fake accounts on social media, making it difficult to conduct a thorough investigation.

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