Saturday, January 04, 2014

The Outlaws of the Marsh

Back in school, there were little protection scams being played out by amateur wannabe thugs seeking to make a notorious name for themselves. Though I numbered several prominent sons of tycoons in my class, I never did see them being roughly manhandled for a quick buck though. Didn't realize we were all relatively sheltered from such petty criminals being in the better classes. Turns out it's always the miserable loner who gets clandestinely bullied by the gangs into handing over his lunch money.

So I never did see whether I would pee in my pants ( which I probably would ) if forcefully accosted by street toughs. 

Gimme My Money!

In a notorious crime haven like this however, it was a matter of time before I had my cruel brush with the outlaws though. Simply put an extortion scam designed to put the fear of God - via the brutish fists of a merciless hoodlum - into the unfortunate victim. Basically repeated calls threatening to intimidate said victim for reneging on some previous unregistered loan. Think ah long.

Think the usual response would be to cower and hand over the money to the dubious bank account listed on the message.  

Me, I kept wondering who I had been mistaken for.  And that was when I actually understood the gist of what was being yelled at over the phone line - since it was lamentably expressed in a rough guttural Chinese dialect. So it basically went something like this. 

Hoodlum : @#*$#%@!!
Paul : Excuse me, what did you say? 
Hoodlum : *%@$@##!!! 
Paul : Do you have the right number? 

Undoubtedly not a profitable call for said scam artist. 

Since I was pretty sure I hadn't borrowed any amount of cash from the local ah long moneylender, I did suspect that I could be the hapless victim of some cheap extortion scheme. Which prompted a quick google search - thank God for the internet - to find a week-old article about a similar shakedown being played out in a neighbouring town. Certainly irritated me enough reading about their unsavoury exploits. 

While I wouldn't mind these raffish crooks playing fraudulent hoaxes on each other, I do hope some poor diligent fellow out there in the boondocks isn't being scammed for his entire life savings. Threatening someone's home and family when he hasn't actually done anything worthy of brutal reprise is a dishonourable crime. Perhaps the real ah long moneylenders could find out that some con artist out there has been misappropriating their good name to scam the locals, then there would be hell to pay. 

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