Five arrested for alleged loansharking

Monday, February 23, 2009
Issue 621, Page 5
Word count: 356
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The Judiciary Police (PJ) apprehended five men suspected of loansharking and unlawful confinement of debtors in two separate operations in Nape.

A 36-year-old woman from Hong Kong and a 38-year-old man from China’s Wuhan were freed after having been confined for failing to repay the high-interest loans.

In the first operation, on Saturday, the PJ raided a flat where they rescued the woman and nabbed two suspects from Guangdong Province.

An internal investigation that followed gave police enough evidence to arrest the two suspects, both from Hong Kong, in a local casino on the same day.

The two Chinese suspects were surnamed Zhao and Xie, aged 55 and 41 respectively, and the other two from the neighbouring SAR were Lam at 24 years old and Chan at 40.

The police spokesman said the four men admitted they were responsible for the alleged crimes.

The woman had come to Macau last Tuesday and lost the money gambling. On Friday, two of the suspects offered her a HK$30,000 loan from which interest amounting to HK$2,000 was deducted in advance. They also demanded 20 percent of her winnings.

After the woman lost all the money the next day, she was taken to a flat, where she was held and told to call her family for money.

In another case, the PJ received a call at about 9.30 am yesterday from a man who said he had been held against his will in a hotel room because he could not repay a loan.

Police soon raided the hotel room and freed the man, then arrested a 40-year-old suspect from Jiangxi Province, China.

The police spokesman said the suspect, surnamed Wan, was not the mastermind of the loansharking mob but was just responsible for keeping an eye on the man in the hotel room.

At least three people involved, including the lenders were on the run, police added.

The man told police he gambled away HK$400,000 and then was persuaded to borrow HK$100,000 from the mob at a 50 percent interest rate.

The five suspects were sent to the Public Prosecutions Office and will be charged with illegal confinement and usury.

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