Woman seeking divorce after husband runs up RM600K debts using house as collateral

After 20 years of marriage, one Johor woman has had enough of her husband’s unbridled gambling and eye-watering debts, and is seeking a divorce.

According to Oriental Daily, patience and understanding ran out after 45-year-old Huang Li Sze discovered that her husband had used their home as collateral to borrow RM600,000 (US$150,000) from loan sharks. Unable to repay the debt after losing the money gambling, her husband must now give loan sharks RM4,000 (US1,000) per month just in interest.

Huang, a factory worker, earning just RM2,000 (US$500) a month, can no longer help bail him out. Over the course of their marriage, she used RM80,000 (US$20,000) of her own earning to pay off his gambling debts.

In a press conference accompanied by local Pekan Nanas assemblyman Yeo Tung Siong, the woman told reporters that she discovered her husband’s betrayal after finding that the title to their house was missing from their shared documents. Having been privy to rumors that he had been borrowing money of late, the woman confronted her husband via telephone, only to have him admit that he had indeed used their home as collateral, to the tune of RM600,000.

Since their conversation, the man has gone into hiding, leaving his wife in a clinch, as ah long (loan sharks) are likely to call on her to answer to her husband’s debts. She is hoping that by divorcing her husband, ah long will leave her and her children alone.

Previously, her husband’s borrowing had seen the family hounded by debt-collectors, phone threats, and red paint splashed on their house, as a form of public shaming that the family had not repaid borrowed money.

Unlicensed ah long rackets operate throughout Malaysia, preying on desperate individuals who are in need of fast money, and are willing to pay exorbitant interest rates (up to 40%) to have the liquid funds. Unfortunately, many of these are habitual gamblers who need the money for unscrupulous purposes.

Inability to pay on time will result in threats of violence towards the individual and their family members, actual violence committed towards the individual and their family member, and the indignity of having your debts broadcast via paint splashing. In some cases, victims unable to pay are driven to suicide.

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