In Macau, police have arrested 15 people on suspicion of activities associated with a loan-sharking syndicate that reportedly could have earned up to $1.28 million from as many as 40 victims.

According to a report from local television and radio broadcaster Teledifusao De Macau, police discovered the illegal lending operation while conducting an investigation into a suspected robbery in a Taipa residential unit. Upon visiting the site, officials found the alleged usury racket’s runners alongside receipts that indicated transaction amounts ranging from $2,500 to $112,600.

Teledifusao De Macau reported that seven men and four women were arrested at the scene while four others who had managed to flee were subsequently detained elsewhere.

“Authorities received telephone calls from two victims in this case,” police spokesperson Chan Cho Man told Teledifusao De Macau. “Police have found the receipt showing the signature of these two victims. The two also said they got locked up in a residential unit once because of loan-sharking. In addition, there were people who admitted that someone invited them to come to Macau to be involved in this loan-sharking activity as they could earn at least 10% to 30% of the loan.”

Macau police reportedly explained that the illegal usury group had been operating since October and that its leader is still being sought for questioning.

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