Ah Long (derived from the Cantonese phrase '大耳窿' (Jyutping: daai6 ji5 lung1) is a term for illegal loan sharks in Malaysia and Singapore. They lend money to people who are unable to obtain loans from banks or other legal sources, mostly targeting habitual gamblers. They charge a very high interest rate (about 40% per month/fortnight) and frequently threaten violence (and administer it) towards those who fail to pay in time.
Ah Long tacticsEdit
When a person fails to pay in time, the Ah Long will spray, splash, or write threats in red paint on the walls of the house or property of that person as a threat of violence and to shame the borrower into repaying the loan. A common use of painting includes the characters "O$ P$" meaning "Owe money, Pay money". According to local police authorities, there have been cases where borrowers were beaten or had their property damaged or destroyed, and some victims have committed suicide.
Pig heads are sometimes hung outside the borrower's house, as a type of intimidation as well as a way of 'marking' the person as a loan 'defaulter'.
Ah Longs sometimes break into victim's houses and steal items of the loans value. This method is commonly used to save time and also effort.
Recent cases shows that Ah Longs also displays the borrower's identity card on a huge banner and post it on fences. Since Ah Longs need only an identity card from borrowers, this tactic is becoming common because it shames the borrower publicly into paying up.
Borrowers often use their outdated identity card to borrow money, with the intent to not pay what they owe. As a result, unsuspecting house owners end up paying the price of receiving the Ah Long tactics of intimidation. Since they are not the borrowers, the intimidation does not stop because the Ah Long will keep on harassing them.