Loan sharks charged kidney patient 1,000pc interest on medical bills
Loan sharks charged a kidney patient interest of up 1,000 per cent a year when he borrowed money to pay his medical bills, police say.
The jobless man in his 50s told police he still owed more than HK$100,000 after paying about HK$10,000 a month to cover the interest in the past 12 months.
Investigations showed the former taxi driver began to borrow money from the loan sharking gang after he was unable to work because of his illness and failed to secure loans from banks and licensed financial firms, one officer said.
"He claimed he had borrowed money from the gang 28 times and that the loans ranged from HK$2,000 to HK$6,000 each," he said.
Police said the interest rate was between 300 per cent and 700 per cent year, well above the legal limit of 60 per cent.
For one of the loans, he borrowed HK$2,000 but was asked to pay a HK$500 administration fee and ordered to pay HK$300 a week to cover the interest.
"In this case, the annual interest rate is about 1,000 per cent," the officer said.
He said the victim's daughter had helped him make payments.
The former cabbie had recently moved from a public housing estate in Western district to Tin Shui Wai to avoid nuisance calls from the syndicate. He alerted the police in October.
Police have been hampered in their efforts to track down the gang because it contacted debtors only by telephone and text messages.
The New Territories North regional crime unit is investigating and no one had been arrested as of last night.