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Police bust biggest loan-sharking gang since 1999

The Judiciary Police (PJ) said Wednesday it had made the biggest loan-sharking gang bust since the 1999 handover, in which the gang members started targeting victims in local casinos in 2000. A total of 13 suspects have been taken into custody. A total of 2,500 IOUs were found, involving about HK$390 million and 120 million […]

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UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:54 am

The Judiciary Police (PJ) said Wednesday it had made the biggest loan-sharking gang bust since the 1999 handover, in which the gang members started targeting victims in local casinos in 2000.

A total of 13 suspects have been taken into custody.

A total of 2,500 IOUs were found, involving about HK$390 million and 120 million yuan (HK$150 million), according to a PJ spokesperson.

According to The Macau Post Daily, the spokesperson made the announcement during a special press conference at the PJ headquarters .

According to the spokesperson, the 13 male suspects aged between 30 and 56 were arrested on Tuesday in different locations around the city.

The suspects comprise six local residents, one of them a local 43-year-old businessman surnamed Lei who is suspected of being the mastermind of the gang; five Hongkongers and two mainlanders. Apart from Lei, all the other suspects worked in differentfields, including a junket operator and an real-estate agent.

The spokesperson said that the PJ officers started investigating the suspects after it received a tip-off in 2010 about a loan-sharking gang which sought out targets in local casinos.

After a three-year investigation, the PJ officers identified three gang members who kept an eye on a flat in Nape around the clock.

The remaining gang members were assigned to prowl casinos in search of targets. Every time a gang member found a gambler losing money, he would persuade the gambler to borrow money, said the spokesperson, adding that the money the gang lent was always directly changed into gambling chips.

The spokesperson also said that there were three ways the gang used to take commissions including taking 30 percent of the money it lent when the debtors change it into chips, or when the gambler played baccarat any time the cards totalled eight or nine. The third way was to charge gamblers 10 percent of their bets, irrespective of whether they won or lost.

On Tuesday, the PJ officers swooped on the Nape flat and arrested five suspects, and took away 100 account ledgers, IOUs, computers, gaming chips and cash. The flat was the gang’s nerve centre.

The amount in the ledgers had not yet been calculated last night but the chips and the cash seized by police amounted to about HK$500,000.

The remaining suspects were arrested in various locations including Areia Preta, said the spokesperson, adding that after checking the IOUs it was discovered that most of the victims were from Hong Kong.

The spokesperson added that at least 10 more people involved in the case are still at large. The 13 suspects will be transferred to the Public Prosecution (MP) Office for further investigation.(macaunews)

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:54 am

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