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SCMP interviewed HKCCMA on Comment of the Stalking Report

Debt collectors worried about abuse

Antoine So

The proposed law might encourage abuse by debtors if police were not trained to ignore unscrupulous complaints, a debt collecting group warned.

The Hong Kong Credit and Collection Management Association said it was dubious about the link between stalking and debt collection.

The report by the commission cited possible examples in which debt collectors could commit stalking offences, including sending 'paper money' to debtors.

The report said abusive measures in debt collection were common. It said a number of debt collection agencies worked for criminals such as loan sharks and illegal gambling operators.

Stalking, and in extreme cases harassment, violence or intimidation was employed, it added.
But association vice-chairman Bobby Rozario said debt collectors telephoned debtors for valid reasons, unlike stalkers. He said there was a vague definition of stalking, which is defined in the commission report as a series of acts over a period of time. This would not only leave room for possible abuse by debtors but might also make it difficult for police to enforce, he said.

'At the end of the day, I am not worried courts will rule mistakenly. But before a case is brought to court, how can police tell whether a complaint is a genuine one? If a debtor has an intention to avoid repaying debt or tries to delay payment, they may call the police and complain of stalking by debt collectors. If the case is accepted by police for investigation, it will effectively provide debtors with protection.' Mr Rozario urged the Government to provide clear guidelines for police as to what constituted stalking.

The Hong Kong Licensed Money Lenders Association echoed the fear about the lack of a clear definition of stalking.

Published on South China Morning Post on Monday October 31, 2000

Created on 2000-11-06 11:27:37 by HKCCMA.

Last Edited on 2011-04-09 11:27:37 by HKCCMA.