Dad cashed out son's education fund to gamble
The New Paper
Hoping to win big
So he started betting larger amounts. But his luck soon ran out. He started losing and fell into debt.
Within two months, he gambled away $10,000 from a joint account he held with his wife, also an administrative worker in her 30s.
Peter then applied for credit cards and maxed them out. He also took out bank loans to fuel his gambling habit.
When the banks wouldn't lend him any more money, he turned to moneylenders. And when they didn't lend him any more, he turned to loan sharks.
At his worst, his loans amounted to over $200,000, and the banks' monthly repayment plan cost more than his $3,000 monthly salary.
That was when Peter cashed out his son's insurance policy. The boy was then in Primary 4.
Said Ms Chui: "He was hoping he could win big. He had the mentality that as long as he had money, there was a chance that he could win everything back.
"The amount he redeemed was actually quite small, maybe even less than the premiums he paid, as the policy was only bought for three years.
"But he was desperate."
Initially, Peter's wife was unaware that he had cashed out their son's policy. But one day, she came across a letter from the insurance company about the cancellation.
She was furious.
Added Ms Chui: "The couple got into a major fight. It was revealed that Peter's wife kept yelling 'How could you do this to our child?'
"She was even angrier and more emotional than when he borrowed from loan sharks.
"I guess this was because the money meant a lot to the child's education."