Are you feeling the heat from debt collectors? Or maybe you just aren’t sure how you’ll make your next credit card payment? Whatever the case, just be thankful you don’t owe money to Citibank in Indonesia. And if you do, don’t accept an invitation to settle in the bank’s interrogation room.
The Washington Post today has the horrifying story of a 50-year-old Indonesian businessman named Irzen Octa who owed $5,700 on his Citibank credit card. Fearful of losing his home, he accepted an invitation to be questioned at a Citibank office in Jakarta, which has a camera-free interrogation room for its mercenary debt collectors.
“Wish me luck,” [Octa] apparently told his wife before leaving home March 28. “I may be signing a new contract and can settle our debts.” He set off about 6 a.m. on his motorcycle, driving first to a school to drop off his younger daughter and then heading to Jakarta. He had a “very happy face,” his widow recalled.
In the afternoon, a friend of her husband, Tubagus Surya, telephoned from a Citibank office in south Jakarta and told her that her husband had “gone.” Surya, who arrived at the Citibank office soon after his friend collapsed, said in a telephone interview that he found Octa sprawled on the floor with his nose bleeding and bruises on his head and abdomen.
Two hours later, Octa was captured on security cameras being wheeled out of the room “apparently unconscious or dead.”
A doctor who examined Octa’s corpse the day after he died wrote two reports: One said he had suffered “asphyxiation” and a “strike from a blunt instrument”; the other said that he’d had a brain hemorrhage.
A “deeply saddened” Citibank said it had nothing to do with Octa’s death. And besides, its debt collectors at the time were outsourced and weren’t even Citibank employees! The bank’s new country head, Tigor Siahaan told the Post that Octa “could have died of natural causes.” He added that Citibank doesn’t even allow “harsh language,” let alone murder when it’s trying to settle with deadbeats.
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