The Judiciary Police (PJ) and the Zhuhai Public Security Bureau (PSB) on Monday jointly busted a loan-sharking gang controlled by a local kingpin with a triad background and arrested 55 suspects, Judiciary Police (PJ) spokesman Choi Ian Fai said in a special press conference on Tuesday.
According to Choi, the joint operation held on Monday was named “Double Arrows”, which was the same name as last month’s “Double Arrows”, an operation which aims to combat cross-border crimes.
According to Choi, the local police received a tip-off two years ago about a cross-border loan-sharking gang. After investigating, police identified a Macau resident as the kingpin living on the mainland, Choi said.
According to Choi, among the 55 suspects, 28 were arrested in Macau and 27 were arrested on the mainland. The suspects are aged between 21 and 50. Four key members, three locals and one from the mainland including the kingpin, are surnamed are Bu, Leong, Un and Wong.
On Monday, PJ officers launched the local part of the operation. They raided a number of “undisclosed locations” as well as several casino VIP rooms. Evidence such as mobile phones, chops, copies of borrowers’ ID cards, IOUs, cheque books, laptops and accounting records were seized by the police, according to Choi.
Moreover, two cars with Macau-Zhuhai cross-border registration plates and HK$400,000 in cash from VIP rooms were confiscated by the local police as they were used by the suspects in the illegal activities, Choi said.
Zhuhai police also carried out their operation on Monday. They seized 27 suspects, among them the alleged kingpin surnamed Che, and 2.14 million yuan in cash (2.67 million patacas).
According to Choi, when questioning the suspects PJ officers discovered that the gang’s “division of labour” was based on a clearly defined hierarchy.
Some of the gang’s mainland members worked on the front line in local casinos. They were tasked with identifying cash-strapped gamblers eager to borrow money and held the borrowers who could not repay the usurious gambling loans captive, according to Choi.
Some of the suspects refused to cooperate with the police, Choi said, adding that the police were still investigating how the gang’s kingpin, key members and lower ranked members divided the profits from their illegal activities, Choi said.
The investigations also showed that the gang started operating 2013 and since then had lent HK$50 million, resulting in a net profit of at least HK$70 million due to the usurious interest that it charged its “clients”, according to Choi.
The suspects caught in Macau were transferred to the Public Prosecution Office (MP) on Tuesday for further investigation and possible arraignments on a wide range of alleged crimes, such as usury, leadership or membership of a criminal organisation, false imprisonment, illegal retention of personal documents, and aiding and abetting, according to Choi.
According to the Macau Post Daily, Choi said the suspects were facing lengthy prison terms.