Four men and one woman arrested in connection with strong-arm debt collection tactics
More than 100 cases of debt-related criminal damage and intimidation reported in Sha Tin this year
More than 100 cases of debt-related criminal damage and intimidation were reported in Sha Tin this year, prompting anti-triad police to crack down on illegal debt collection activities and leading to the arrest of five suspects.
Initial investigations indicated that such strong-arm tactics, used to force debtors to pay up, were carried out by three men believed to be working for a finance company in Mong Kok, according to police.
At daybreak on Monday, officers arrested four men and one woman, aged between 39 and 50, in connection with such activities in a series of raids on several flats in the New Territories.
Officers also raided the Mong Kok office of the finance company, where they seized documents and computers.
Chief Inspector Jacky Sheung Chun-kit said police were investigating whether the company was involved in loan-sharking activities.
He said the operation was continuing, and it was possible that further arrests would be made.
“So far this year, there have been more than 100 reports of criminal damage and intimidation in the Sha Tin district. All are linked to illegal debt collection,” he said.
According to police, red paint was poured on the doors of debtors’ flats, and padlocks were damaged so borrowers could not return home. Threats included nuisance calls.
The amounts owed ranged from thousands of dollars to tens of thousand dollars, he added.
The suspects are being held for questioning and have not been charged.
Police figures show there were 530 reports of criminal intimidation across the city in the first four months of this year, a 3.3 per cent rise compared with 513 in the same period last year. There were 1,662 reports of criminal damage in the same period this year.