Unlicensed money lenders claim trial for harassing, threatening borrowers

T.N.Alagesh

KUANTAN: Three illegal money lending company workers were today jointly charged at Magistrate Court here today with three counts of threatening and harassing borrowers here last month. Lai Wei Lun, 23, Goh Boon Kheng, 24, and Wong Chee Seng, 24, pleaded not guilty when the charges were read before Magistrate Nurunaim Abdullah. For the first offence, the trio were charged with disturbing a 48-year-old borrower and his family members by locking the front gate, and making several threatening calls to the individual at a house at Taman Kempadang Makmur about 5am on Aug 23, 2018. In the second charge, the trio was accused of disturbing a 22-year-old borrower and his family members by splashing red and green paint into their house compound; and making threatening calls to the victim. They were accused of committing the offence at Jalan Sri Kemunting from 5am and 8am, between Aug 23 and Aug 30. They were also accused of disturbing a 32-year-old victim and her family members by locking the front gate with a chain and padlock; and made several threatening calls to the individual at Jalan Air Putih about 6.45pm on Aug 28. The court framed the three charges against the accused under Section 29B(1) of the Moneylenders Act 1951 which carries a maximum penalty of RM250,000 and three-year imprisonment; and whipping for the subsequent offence. During litigation, lawyer Muhammad Hakimie Ali from the National Legal Aid Foundation, who represented the trio, told the court that the accused, who were bachelors, earned about RM800 each a month and that they have been jobless following their arrest on Aug 30. The court set bail at RM22,000 with one surety for each of the accused and fixed Oct 11 for mention. In a separate court later, Wong and Lai claimed trial to a charge of assisting a money lender to distribute misleading and fake call cards (money lending) in a move to convince others to borrow money. The duo allegedly committed the offence at Indera Mahkota here about 9.30pm on Aug 30. Magistrate Nor Azizah Aling allowed RM5,000 bail with one surety for each of the accused and set Oct 11 for mention. Prosecuting officer Inspector P. Prabu conducted the prosecution. They were charged under Section 29AA of the Money Lenders Act 1951, which carries a maximum penalty of two years’ jail and RM20,000 fine, for assisting unlicensed money lending. Earlier, Goh was charged at the Sessions Court here for providing unlicensed money lending services to three borrowers between June and August this year. He pleaded not guilty to a charge of providing cash between RM980 and RM3,000 to the victims aged between 22 and 48 with an interest ranging from 20 to 30 percent every week, or a fortnight. Goh, who was not represented, was charged under section 5(2) of the Moneylenders Act 1951 which carries a maximum penalty of RM1million fine and five-year imprisonment. Deputy public prosecutor Fatinah (correct) Abu Bakar offered bail at RM90,000 and requested that the court ordered the accused not to harass the victims. Judge Dazuki Ali approved the application and fixed bail at RM60,000 with one surety. He fixed Oct 11 for mention. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd