Police say they have smashed two illegal money-lending syndicates.
A man with a ‘Datuk’ title was among 35 individuals detained in operations codenamed ‘Op Vulture’ to curb illegal money-lending or ‘Ah Long’ syndicates.
The operations which began on Aug 21 and ended yesterday were conducted in Kuala Lumpur, Johor, Melaka and Kedah.
Federal CCID deputy director (intelligence and operations) Senior Asst Comm Sakri Arifin aid the 40-year-old man was believed to be the leader of a syndicate that had been active in illegal money-lending and non-existent loans.
Police said Investigations were ongoing to determine if the title of the 40-year-old suspected mastermind was legally obtained.
A total of 26 men and eight women, all locals, aged 15 to 40 years, were also arrested in the operations.
“Based on the operations conducted, police are confident to have foiled two ‘Ah Long’ syndicates, believed to be active since 2015. A total of 23 police reports were lodged against them involving non-existent loans.
“Losses were estimated at about RM1.6 million, with the largest amount at about RM300,000 borrowed by one victim,” Sakri told a press conference.
He added that while the two groups shared a similar modus operandi, they were not affiliated with each other.
The syndicates were believed to have lured customers by advertising on social media and pamphlets distributed in residential and business areas.
According to Sakri, borrowers were charged with a high interest rate of between 10 and 15 percent, as well as offered a new to settle existing loans.
“They also act violently by making threats and spraying paints if the victim fails to pay,” said Sakri.
He added that the police have so far solved around 18 cases tied to the two syndicates.
He also revealed that police seized various items, including 34 ATM cards, four bank account books and 70 mobile phones during the operations.