Two held over HK$28m money-lending racket

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 April, 2013, 3:05am

Police have arrested two people they suspect were key players in a loan and money laundering racket that handled more than HK$28 million over the past five years.

One of the suspects - a 34-year-old man - is believed to be the mastermind of the syndicate which was active in the Kowloon West region. The alleged Wo Shing Wo triad member was picked up when anti-triad officers raided his home in Sau Mau Ping Estate at about 6am.

The other suspect - a 41-year-old woman - was nabbed at her flat at Hiu Lai Court in Hiu Kwong Street, Sau Mau Ping, at daybreak. She was accused of allowing the syndicate to use her bank accounts to collect repayments from debtors and launder money, according to police.

Police are still looking for more than 10 people whose bank accounts may have also been involved in money laundering, along with three or four other key figures of the syndicate.

"An initial investigation shows the total amount of money laundered through their accounts involved more than HK$28 million," an officer said.

Police believe 300 to 400 people had borrowed money from the syndicate since 2008 as they were unable to get loans from licensed money-lenders. The syndicate advertised their business in newspapers and on street posters.

Sham Shui Po police began an investigation after a debtor was bundled into a car in Yu Chau Street, Sham Shui Po, driven to Kowloon Peak, known as Fei Ngo Shan, in October and beaten severely. Officers rescued the man and arrested three people. Inside the car were accounting records that led them to key figures of the syndicate.

Last night the two suspects were being held for questioning and no charge had been laid.