The current and former directors of a financial intermediary firm have been arrested in connection with a low-interest loan scam that duped at least four Hongkongers out of more than HK$4.5 million (US$580,000) in the past seven months, police said on Friday. The man and woman, both aged 44, were detained when officers raided their flat in Tin Shui Wai on Wednesday evening. Inspector Chong Tak-him of the Yau Tsim criminal investigation unit said the woman was the registered director of the company in Tsim Sha Tsui and the other suspect, a truck driver, was the firm’s former director “We have seized some relevant mortgage documents in their home that are connected to the case. The documents have the signatures of the victims,” he said. He said the duo was arrested for conspiracy to defraud, an offence that carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in jail. As of Friday morning, the two suspects were being held for questioning and had not been charged. Detectives began investigating the firm in mid-July after receiving complaints. Earlier this year, the victims had received cold calls from a person pretending to be a bank employee or financial consultant and offering to help them apply for a low-interest loan, according to the force. Hong Kong police intercept HK$6.3 billion scammed from victims of phone and internet swindles over three years They were first lured to visit the company, located on Prat Avenue, to do paperwork, then taken to a bank to apply for a mortgage. After the applications were approved and cash was given to the victims, Chong said the suspects began inventing excuses to lure the victims to give them the money. “[The suspects] claimed they would help the victims to use the money to open a loan account at another bank to improve the loan credit of the victims and increase the amount they could be loaned,” he said. After the victims turned over the money, the suspects then disappeared. The victims only realised they had been conned when they could not find the so-called financial consultants and discovered the office had been vacated. Coronavirus: Hongkongers lose HK$222 million in romance and telephone scams during Covid-19 crisis To date, four victims have filed police reports involving losses of HK$4.57 million in total. One victim alone lost HK$1.5 million – the largest amount in this case. Chong said he believed there was a syndicate behind the scam and that the two suspects were the core members of the gang. The inspector said police were investigating if there were other victims and urged them to contact officers at 3661 9273. According to the force, investigation was continuing and further arrests were possible. Police figures show there were 8,129 reports of deception in the first half of this year, a 110 per cent increase from 3,855 cases in the same period last year.