Home Business 20 Arrested as Hong Kong Police Target Loansharking and Debt Collection Syndicate

20 Arrested as Hong Kong Police Target Loansharking and Debt Collection Syndicate

Sau Mau Ping Police Station

In a decisive blow against illegal financial operations, the Sau Mau Ping District Police has concluded a sweeping anti-loansharking and debt collection operation, codenamed “FORBIDARMS,” resulting in the arrest of twenty individuals. The operation, which ran from June 7 to 15, targeted a sophisticated syndicate engaged in predatory lending and violent debt collection practices across Hong Kong.

The arrests encompassed fifteen men and five women, aged between 20 and 64, in various districts. They face multiple serious charges, including “borrowing money at an exorbitant rate of interest,” “conspiracy to borrow money at an exorbitant rate of interest,” “dealing with property known or believed to represent the proceeds of indictable offenses” (commonly referred to as money laundering), “criminal damage,” “criminal intimidation,” “assault occasioning actual bodily harm,” and “claiming to be a triad member.”

During the operation, police raided a licensed money lender in Tsim Sha Tsui, a residential unit in Ngau Tau Kok, and another in Yuen Long. These raids led to the arrest of three key syndicate members and three company staff. Additionally, fourteen members of debt collection teams were apprehended in connection with sixteen cases of illegal debt collection in Sau Mau Ping District, spanning from December 27, 2003, to March 14 of this year.

The police seized approximately $300,000 in cash along with bank cards, telephones, computers, debt collection notes, loan documents, and private cars and watches suspected to be linked to the proceeds of crime.

Investigations revealed that the syndicate provided loans to borrowers and resorted to threats and harassment when repayments were delayed. Intimidation tactics included threatening phone calls, visits to borrowers’ homes to post menacing notices, destruction of property, and splashing paint. The total loan amount involved exceeded $1 million, with over $5.8 million laundered through illicit activities.

All twenty suspects have been released on bail pending further investigation and are required to report to the police in mid-July.

Highlighting the severity of the offenses, police reiterated that “criminal damage” carries a maximum penalty of ten years’ imprisonment, while “criminal intimidation” can result in up to five years’ imprisonment. Authorities urged youth to refrain from unlawful activities and advised the public to exercise caution when obtaining loans, emphasizing the importance of patronizing legitimate financial institutions.

The police remain committed to combating illegal debt collection and loansharking, employing enhanced intelligence gathering, public education, and collaboration with stakeholders to tackle these crimes. They also advised the public to scrutinize loan contracts carefully to avoid falling prey to unscrupulous lenders.