The Judiciary Police (PJ) and the Zhuhai Public Security Bureau (PSB) on Monday jointly busted a loan-sharking gang controlled by a criminal organisation and arrested 76 suspects, Judiciary Police (PJ) spokesman Lai Man Vai said in a special press conference on Tuesday.
According to Lai, the local police received a tip-off from their mainland counterparts in April about a loan-sharking gang operating in Macau and the mainland. The gang started operating in October 2017. Lai said the gang’s usurious activities involved over HK$20 million.
According to Lai, the 76 suspects are all from the mainland, most of them from Jiangxi province, aged between 26 and 54. Their surnames were not released by the spokesman.
A total of 41 of the suspects were taken in for questioning by PJ officers in Macau. The remaining 35 who were arrested in Zhuhai came from different areas on the mainland, Lai said, adding that the police believe that other members of the gang are still at large.
Between October 2017 until it was busted by the joint operation this week, police believe that the gang carried out at least 40 cases of usury, involving more than HK$20 million, the spokesman said.
According to the spokesman, the joint operation held on Monday was named “Double Arrows”.
On Monday, PJ officers launched the local part of the operation. They raided five luxury residential flats in Nape and Cotai which the gang had rented for their members. Evidence such as mobile phones, chops, copies of borrowers’ ID cards, IOUs and accounting records were seized by the police, according to Lai.
Moreover, PJ officers froze 13 bank accounts of local casino VIP rooms, involving HK$5.5 million in cash related to the loan-sharking activities, Lai said.
Zhuhai police also carried out its operation on Monday. They seized 35 suspected gang members from Zhuhai, Beijing and Nanchang. Zhuhai police believe that one of the suspects they caught was the gang leader, while four were key members, Lai said.
Hierarchy & division of labour
According to Lai, under questioning police discovered that the gang’s “division of labour” was based on a clearly defined hierarchy. Moreover, the members were trained to develop a strong awareness to avoid police investigation, Lai said.
According to the Macau Post Daily, some of the gang members worked on the front line in local casinos. They were tasked with identifying cash-strapped gamblers eager to borrow money. The instant gambling loans needed to be approved by the senior members who stayed on the mainland, according to Lai.
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 Lai.
Lai said the suspects were facing lengthy prison terms.