Maid of late Tanjong Rhu Pau founder borrows from loan sharks, flees and leaves his family with debt

Claiming that her father was critically ill, an Indonesian maid hurriedly returned home — leaving behind a $1,000 debt and subjecting her employers to loan shark harassment.

The maid had been hired to care for the late Mr Lee Guanghua, the founder of Tanjong Rhu Pau. Mr Lee, whose health had been deteriorating ever since contracting Covid-19 twice, died on April 23 at the age of 67 after suffering cardiac arrest.

Photo: Shin Min Daily News

The entrepreneur's second daughter, 32-year-old Lee Yixian, said her family is now having to deal with loan shark harassment after her father's funeral and while still grieving him.

Ms Lee told Shin Min Daily News that her father had employed the maid due to mobility issues and because he did not want to tire his family out.

However, the maid would frequently ask for salary advances during her employment. At the start of April this year, she requested an advance of over $600.

Ms Lee said: "It used to be small amounts. When she wanted to advance a month's salary, we were worried that she would not be able to manage her finances, so we let her have only $400."

Photo: Shin Min Daily News

But on April 19 after just nine months of work, the maid suddenly claimed that her father was seriously ill and she had to return home immediately.

The family informed the agency, allowing the maid to return home by ferry the next day even though she was supposed to be on a two-year contract.

But later that afternoon, Ms Lee's brother received a debt collection message from a loan shark. The loan shark shared photos of the maid and her work permit, and asked the family to repay her debt of $600.

Photo: Shin Min Daily News

A second party also approached the family and asked them to repay a $400 debt, meaning that the maid owes a total of $1,000.

According to Ms Lee, the loan shark even took photos of her doorstep, as well as sent threatening videos of other people's homes being doused in red paint and petrol.

The loan shark continued harassing the family even as Mr Lee was sent to hospital after suffering a heart attack on April 22.

Ms Lee said: "We were at a loss. We were busy with our father's affairs and couldn't deal with it. The loan shark continued chasing for repayment even when our dad passed away the next day."

Ms Lee's brother responded to the loan shark's texts, saying that they would not be responsible for the maid's debts.

However, the loan shark persisted in asking for money and even said, "I am talking nicely now," before sending the threatening videos.

Photo: Shin Min Daily News

Besides lodging a police report, Ms Lee has also installed CCTV cameras outside her house and warned her neighbours about the harassment.

Sharing how she is now afraid to get another domestic helper, Ms Lee added: "We engaged a maid but not only was she not much help, she even left a mess behind."

The kicker? The Lees had even given the maid a $100 red packet before she left for Indonesia.

Ms Lee said her father would always ask his family to treat the maid well and often packed food for her. He even planned to buy her a handbag once she had worked for a full year.

She added: "My father had always been kind to others and trusted the maid a lot. He even didn't want to install CCTV cameras at home. I didn't expect her to treat us like this."

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