Aside from the construction material and labour costs, renovation contractors and homeowners also have to worry of another cost – protection money to be paid to a local thug.
A contractor who does home renovations in Klang revealed that he had to pay protection fees to the local thugs in Kampong Delek, Kampong Raja Uda and Sungai Udang in order that he can continue with the work he was hired to do, reported The Star.
“I have been in this business for 25 years and protection fees come with the territory,” said Samsuri, which is not his real name.
“In 2001, when I started on my own, I had to make a deal with the thugs, similar to what my former boss had to do…I am unable to continue in this business if I do not pay them protection fees.”
According to him, thugs would inform small contractors operating within their turf of the expected amount of fee and the due date. Failure to pay would see such contractors being harassed.
Samsuri said thugs harassed his workers and took away some of the construction materials and tools during one instance that he failed to pay.
“I had to get help from a friend to settle the protection fees,” he said, adding that the materials and tools were returned upon payment of the protection fees.
Arthur, a pensioner residing in Taman Setia, noted that thugs are becoming more daring.
“Each time renovation works begin, they will turn up and demand a fee. They say the area is under their control,” he said.
C.C. Chan, a retiree who engaged the services of two Indonesian workers to replace the broken tiles at their kitchen and change a rusted back gate at Taman Setia off Persiaran Raja Muda Musa, was required to pay RM330 if he wanted the work to proceed.
The thugs kicked the wall, threatened to damage the new gate and shouted obscenities when he refused to pay. Fearing for the safety of his family, Chan eventually paid the protection fees.
Meanwhile, South Klang OCPD Asst Comm Shamsul Amar Ramli explained that extortion is a crime.
“Instilling fear in someone with the intent to compel them to turn over cash or personal possessions is a form of theft,” he said.
“Based on the police reports lodged, extortion cases involving house renovations are happening.”
In fact, they received five cases in 2017, of which three were reported by contractors and the rest by homeowners.
In 2018, four cases were reported by contractors.
ACP Shamsul Amar said the police consider such cases seriously, which are being investigated under Section 384 and 385 of the Penal Code.
He called on homeowners and contractors not to pay thugs who claim to provide protection.
“We have cases of repeat offenders and this is where the Prevention of Crime Act 1959 can be used to banish them.” For this year, they have not received any report of extortion cases relating to home renovations.
Those who are threatened are urged to lodge a police report. They can call 03-3376 2222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image source: The Star
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