A total of 34 suspects were arrested on Sunday for their suspected membership of loan-sharking gang which lent about HK$60 million to about 80 gamblers, Judiciary Police (PJ) spokeswoman Lei Hon Nei said at a press conference in Nape yesterday.
Lei said that in March last year the Judiciary Police were tipped off about the gang and arrested some of its suspected members. The police continued their investigation, and on Sunday 80 PJ officers raided nine residential flats in Taipa and the peninsula.
Among the arrested suspects were the alleged kingpin of the gang, a 40-year-old local man surnamed Lui, his wife and his elder sister.
The suspects include nine women. The arrestees, aged from 24 to 52, comprise 26 mainlanders, seven Macau people and one Hong Kong woman.
The spokeswoman said that during the raids, police officers seized HK$1.7 million, 130 boxes of IOUs and a number of mobile phones.
According to the spokeswoman, the loan-sharking gang began operating about two years ago, with about 50 members, and their membership changing periodically as and when their visas to stay in Macau expired. The members, most of them mainlanders, solicited gamblers to borrow money for gambling. The gang members collected 10 percent interest on every loan they made and took the gamblers to a VIP room who then had to pay 20 percent interest on every bet they placed.
The gang members were provided with accommodation in Macau by Lui and were paid 30 percent of the interest each of them collected from each gambler.
According to Lei, at least 80 victims, mostly mainlanders, borrowed between HK$100,000 and HK$1 million from the gang, with about HK$60 million lent in total.
The suspects have been transferred to the Public Prosecution Office (MP) for further investigation and possible arraignments on usury and other charges.