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‘Online loan sharks, see you in the afterlife: Indonesian taxi driver leaves note before hanging himself over debt

Coconuts logo Coconuts 12/2/2019 Coconuts Jakarta
a close up of a book: Photo illustration. Source: PxHere Photo illustration. Source: PxHere

In the past couple of years, Indonesia has seen a huge boom in P2P (peer-to-peer) lending apps and the industry remains largely unregulated by the government. Sadly, one case involving P2P lending debt in Indonesia recently ended on an extremely tragic note.

Zulfadhli, a 35-year-old taxi driver, was recently found hanged in his friend’s kosan (boarding home) in Mampang, South Jakarta. Based on the suicide note he left behind, it appears he took his own life because he wasn’t able to pay off the debt for loans he had received from P2P lenders.

“The victim hanged himself with a rope tied to the bathroom door frame, and we also found a suicide note,” Mampang Police’s Criminal Unit Chief Anton Prihartono said yesterday, as quoted by Kumparan.

In the note, Zulfadhli apologized to his wife and children, then asked the Financial Services Authority (OJK) to eradicate the practice of online lending. Below is his complete suicide note, as picked up by Kumparan:

I’m sorry I’m making things difficult for everyone. To my children, please don’t become liars. I involved you in this hardship, I hope you will become honest people in the future. To my wife, I apologize I never made you happy.

To OJK and authorities, please eradicate the online lenders for creating a devil’s trap. Online loan sharks, I’ll see you in the afterlife.

Please never pay off my online debts because the one who was involved was only myself, no one else was involved.

Zulfadhli’s body was first discovered when his friend returned home at around 9am yesterday. Zulfadhli had stayed there since Sunday evening because he wasn’t able to stay at his taxi office’s dorm.

“According to the witness, the victim arrived in normal and healthy condition, didn’t show any weird behavior and didn’t tell him about his hardship,” Anton said.

Zulfadhli’s body has been brought to Fatmawati Hospital in South Jakarta for an autopsy.

By November of last year, the Information and Communications Ministry (Kominfo) had blocked access to 341 P2P lending apps that were not regulated by OJK in a bid to prevent unethical lending practices. Since only a handful of them are registered to OJK, there were still many unregistered and questionable P2P apps that allegedly employ unethical, and downright abusive, debt collecting methods.

The Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Jakarta) said some of the reports they received about abusive debt collecting by P2P lenders include one in which collectors forced a woman to strip naked and dance on top of a train track to pay off her debt, as well as one case in which threats were made against a debtor’s life.

In addition, many collectors have been contacting people on the debtors’ contacts lists on their phones — which many of their apps shadily give them access to. In one case, one debtor lost his job after the collectors contacted his boss while in another case one debtor was threatened with divorce after the collectors contacted his in-laws.

Kominfo Director General of Applications and Information Samuel A. Pangerapan once said that people who have borrowed money from P2P lending apps not registered with the OJK don’t have to worry about paying the money back because the apps are essentially illegal, but did not offer any assurances that the government would protect these debtors from loan sharks.

As of December 2018, 88 P2P lenders (out of hundreds that are available online) have been officially registered with the OJK, the list of which you can see here.

Correction: We have fixed a factual error in the headline of this article, from “… leaves note after hanging himself” to “… leaves not before hanging himself”. We apologize for the mistake.

This article, ‘Online loan sharks, see you in the afterlife: Indonesian taxi driver leaves note before hanging himself over debt, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!

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