ALOR SETAR, Aug 8 (Bernama) –Two women and teenagers were among 16 people arrested for being alleged members of an unlicensed money-lending (Ah Long) syndicate following raids carried out on eight houses in the Sungai Petani vicinity yesterday.
Head of the Kedah Commercial Crime Investigation Department (JSJK) Supt Annuar Amri Abd Muluf, said the operations was conducted together with a police team from the JSJK Operations and Technical Assistance Division in Bukit Aman at 8.30 a.m.
During the operations, police arrested 14 men and two women aged between 15 and 49, and seized eight vehicles and items used in the illegal money-lending scheme.
Also seized were cash amounting to RM9,733 and SG$3,000 (RM9,079), 29 ATM cards, 16 cheques, 17 notebooks with details of the borrowers, six plastic containers of red paint and three samurai swords, he said in a statement, today.
Annuar Amri said investigations found that the syndicate had been offering the unlicensed loans in Kedah, Perak, Penang and Perlis over the last two years, targeting government employees, private sector employees, small traders, retailers and factory workers.
He said the syndicate advertised their services through social media sites such as Facebook and the WeChat application as well as through banners and brochures.
He added that the syndicate also imposed conditions that must be met before the loan is given and imposed a 10-to-15 percent interest depending on the loan, and offered a weekly or monthly repayment.
“Usually the loans are between RM1,000 to RM50,000 and if the borrower failed to settle the payment within the stipulated period, the syndicate would resort to violence such as threatening notes, using abusive words and splashing paint,” he said.
He added that all the suspects had no previous criminal records and would be remanded for four days from today under Section 5 (2), Section 29 (A) (1), Section 29B of the Unlicensed Moneylenders Act 1951.
Under Section 5 (2), those convicted can be fined up to RM250,000 and not more than RM1 million or a jail term of up to five years or both.
Section 29 A (1) provides for a fine of up to RM20,000 or imprisonment for two years or both, while Section 29B of the Act provides for a maximum fine of RM250,000 or a jail sentence of not more than three years or both.
Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)