Businessman nabbed for usury – at least 10 pct monthly interest: police

2017-09-13 08:05     Comment:1

The Judiciary Police (PJ) arrested a local man on Monday for usury in which the suspect lent money to 67 people and charged them a monthly interest rate of at least 10 percent from 2013 to this year, PJ spokesman Tam Weng Keong said during a special press conference yesterday, adding that the total amount of the illegal loans was HK$3.3 million.

Tam identified the suspect as a 58-year-old businessman surnamed Hong. Tam did not mention in which kind of business Hong was involved.

Hong’s usury activities were not discovered until a male victim reported to the police in July after he had been threatened by his lender – Hong – as he was unable to repay the loan, according to Tam.

This victim told the police that he borrowed HK$30,000 from Hong in June last year. The condition of the loan was that the victim had to pay an interest rate of 10 percent of the amount of his loan every month – which meant he had to pay HK$3,000 in interest every month, Tam said.

According to Tam, the victim paid the HK$3,000 interest every month until April when he was unable to pay anymore and therefore stopped his monthly payments. Hong responded by phoning the victim and threatening that he may attack him with a knife if he did not repay the loan.

According to Tam, the victim only reported the case on July 10 when he went to the PJ headquarters.

After investigating, the police identified Hong as the suspect. On Monday, PJ officers arrested Hong in his flat in Areia Preta district, where they found 71 IOUs involving 67 borrowers and copies of the ID cards of some of the borrowers, Tam said.

According to Tam, the IOUs seized in Hong’s flat showed that Hong had lent money to the 67 borrowers since 2013. The amounts
each “client” borrowed ranged from HK$5,000 to HK$440,000, Tam said, adding that the total amount of the usurious loans reached HK$3.3 million.

The IOUs seized showed that Hong charged the borrowers interest rates of between 10 and 12 percent of the principal every month, Tam said.

Tam said that over 20 of the victims are taxi drivers, while two of the victims are mainlanders. The 67 borrowers comprise men and women, aged between 30 and 60.

According to Tam, most of the borrowers were introduced to Hong by friends.

Tam said Hong would be transferred to the Public Office (MP) for possible arraignment on usury charges.

According to Article 219 of the Macau Penal Code, the suspect faces a prison term of up to 5 years.

Evidence including IOUs found in the usury suspect’s flat are displayed in a pressroom of the Judiciary Police (PJ) headquarters yesterday. Photo: Iong Tat Choi


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