Source: The Star
Thursday June 26, 2008
By CHRISTINA TAN and LISA GOH
TANJUNG SEPAT: He said he had given up betting on football but the lure of Euro 2008 proved too much for Chuang Toh Huat. In the end, he paid for his love of betting with his life. Some 12 hours after the Spain versus Italy quarterfinal match, he was found in a semi-conscious state after drinking weed killer.
“I have given more than RM1mil to pay off his debts and he promised he wouldn't do it again,” said his father Hock Meng, 56, yesterday when met at his house in Taman Pelangi.
Toh Huat died at 7.30am on Tuesday at the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital in Klang. His family believes he ran up a debt of RM90,000 after failed bets during the Euro 2008 championship.
“Lately, with the Euro 2008 in full swing, he went back to his bad habit without us realising it,” said Hock Meng.
He said his son got hooked on football betting three years ago when a man, whom he claimed was a bookie, approached Toh Huat.
Hock Meng added he had taken loans and sold pigs from his farm to pay off his son’s debts.
The 31-year-old Toh Huat, a manager at his father’s pig farm, was found by his younger brother at about 5.30pm on Monday.
While Toh Huat was fighting for his life at the hospital, the family received three telephone calls from a man demanding RM90,000.
Hock Meng urged the authorities to protect the people, especially those in rural areas, from becoming victims of betting syndicates.
He said he wanted to make public his son’s suicide for it to be a lesson to others.
Toh Huat’s mother Gan San Moy, 54, said she could not believe that her son, who was a father of four, would leave his family without saying goodbye.
“He called me after drinking the weed killer. He said somebody was after him because of bets he had placed. He told me he could not stand the harassment anymore and asked me to take care of myself and his family,” she said in between sobs.
In Kuala Lumpur, MCA Public Services and Complaints Department head Datuk Michael Chong said cases of people who owed money to loan sharks got worse during the football season, adding they were “foolish people” driven by greed.
“People go crazy with their football betting and gambling and borrow even more money from the Ah Long.
“They keep coming to me for help, and I try to help them, but sometimes I end up getting myself in trouble with the Ah Long instead. I have no more mercy for them,” he told newsmen.