A family in Singapore has been receiving threatening calls from a loan shark because their Filipina maid owes S$4,000 to several people who she had believed were legitimate moneylenders.
The maid’s 40-year-old employer, a woman named Chang, wrote to a Singapore newspaper to describe their predicament.
She said she had been forced to alert the police and was contemplating sacking the maid because of safety concerns for her family as well as the domestic worker.
Chang told Shin Min Daily News she received the first call in February from an anonymous man who said he was a loan shark and could not reach her Filipina maid, who had failed to repay him S$200.
The maid allegedly took out a loan using her work permit, which had the employer’s name and home address on it. The loan shark insisted that Chang would be the guarantor for her maid by default.
The worker later explained that she had got the loan on behalf of a friend. Chang and her husband believed her and had decided to settle the debt for the maid, who had been a good and diligent worker for six years.
However, a week ago, the family received over 80 harassment calls in three days from another loan shark who threatened to set fire to their house or harm Chang’s husband if the employer did not clear her worker’s debts.
The couple settled another S$1,500 in debts and filed a report to police. The Filipina admitted that she took out a total of S$4,000 in loans over two months after seeing messages advertising loans. She insisted that she did not know these were not legal moneylenders.
Chang recalled that her maid had asked for advance salary payments and borrowed S$1,000 from her in January, saying she needed to buy land in the Philippines. She regretted not realizing that her employee was in such serious need of money.
The Filipina apologized but her employer said they were considering sending her away due to safety concerns.