Khamis, September 30, 2010

Driver lured by promise of windfall in business venture

Wednesday September 29, 2010

By SEREAN LAU
sereanlau@thestar.com.my

KUALA LUMPUR: He was promised a windfall by a business partner and in exchange, Lim Seik Kuang signed bank forms and even masqueraded as a “big boss” in front of bank officers.

For his troubles, the 51-year-old lorry driver, whose monthly pay cheque is RM2,500, is now the listed owner of four cars – a BMW X5, a Volvo S80, a Honda Accord and a Myvi 1.3 – and a guarantor in the purchase of a RM500,000 Porsche Cayenne. And he is also RM1.6mil in debt, excluding interest.

Lim only realised that he had been duped when he received an SMS reminding him that he had defaulted on a car loan instalment.

“How can that be when I only have one lorry. I went to check with the Road Transport Department and was shocked when told that I owned four cars.
The full tally: Chong and Lim (right) showing the numerous debts that the lorry driver had chalked up as (from left) Vijay and Fernandez listen. Seated are department legal advisors Quek Ngee Meng (left) and Ivan Chen.

“I then checked with Bank Negara and was in a bigger shock when I learned that I am more than RM1.6mil in debt,” he said at the MCA Public Services and Complaint Department yesterday.

Apart from the car loans, Lim is listed as having eight credit cards with a debt of over RM160,000 and taken up 12 personal loans amounting to almost RM500,000.

Lim, who has since lodged a police report against his business partner known as Ong, said he was paid between RM200 and RM300 each time he was taken to the banks to sign forms.

Ong, he claimed, had also asked him to change the correspondence address on his MyKad to his (Ong’s) address when they started their business ventures two years ago and that was why he never realised that his name was being used to secure various loans.

“I was foolish to trust him. I even gave him my house grant recently.”

Lim, who was accompanied by his two neighbours Vijay Indran and Alex Marshall Fernandez, said he did not question Ong much each time he was asked to sign the form as he thought it was a normal procedure to start a business venture.

He said there were times when Ong instructed him to “act” as a big boss at one of the fruit stalls in Lorong Haji Taib when bank officers came to do their checks on him.

Lim said he had confronted Ong in Cheras after receiving the SMS about the car loan but Ong claimed innocence, saying he was only the middle man in the whole venture.

Ong has since disappeared.

Department chief Datuk Michael Chong said this was just the tip of the iceberg and believed there were many more similar cases.

“I urge the police to conduct a detailed investigation on this matter and Bank Negara to do an internal audit to find out how Lim was deemed qualified to have loans ranging from RM17,000 to RM500,000 with 13 financial institutions in less than three years.” said Chong, who believed it was the job of a syndicate.

Chong said two of his legal advisers would assist in Lim’s case.

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