Hundreds of foreign domestic helpers have reportedly been swarming a moneylending outlet at Block 135 Jurong Gateway Road every Sunday, after the company began a promotion last month offering loans of up to S$1000 at low interest rates.
The walkway of the block is presently being renovated and only a small, narrow space is available for passers-by and shoppers to walk through. On 6 May, reporters from the Chinese daily saw a crowd of over 100 helpers blocking the narrow space, causing nearby shopkeepers to grow irritated due to the “unbearable” crowd and noise.
According to the daily, the helpers were noisy and occupied every inch of the sidewalk, even sitting down on the narrow path cross-legged, waiting for the moneylender to open their doors. The daily reported that the helpers also shared food around and littered the area.
One shopkeeper, 47-year-old Ms Zhou, revealed that the moneylender began opening their doors exclusively to helpers on Sundays from mid-April. Ms Zhou noted that while the moneylending business was good, the crowd is inconveniencing other shops and her shop only had one customer that Sunday. She added: “I had talked with the person in charge of the store and asked them to deal with it because their noise affected our business.”
Ms Zhou added that the crowd was so bad that someone called the police. The police apparently arrived and calmed the crowd for about two hours but the crowd surged again after the police left.
Another store’s operations manager, 34-year-old Sophie, said that some customers are getting irritated by the crowds too: “More people say that if they (helpers) continue to do so (crowd the area), they will not come.”
This is not the first time helpers here have swarmed local moneylenders. In December last year, a 100-strong crowd of foreign domestic helpers swarmed a moneylender at Fu Lu Shou Complex on a Sunday. The crowd was so large and so boisterous that nearby shopkeepers were prompted to call the police to complain of noise, rowdiness and that the helpers were blocking the entrances to their stores.
Cases of helpers borrowing from moneylenders in their employer’s names have also been occurring. Just last week, we reported about a helper who borrowed thousands of dollars in her employer’s name from not one or two but five moneylenders.
Earlier this year, we reported that another domestic helper allegedly borrowed thousands of dollars from loansharks in her employer’s name before absconding.
In that case, the helper’s employer alleged online that her domestic helper returned home under the guise that her husband was shot dead, when in reality she was simply fleeing from loansharks who were after her after she had racked up thousands of dollars in debt.