JOHOR BARU: Police arrested five men for their alleged involvement in illegal money-lending activities and for threatening borrowers who failed to repay their loans.
Johor Police Chief Comm Datuk Kamarul Zaman Mamat said the five suspects, aged between 23 and 41, were arrested on Tuesday October 18 in Iskandar Puteri area.
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“They were arrested in several raids between approximately 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. by our men from the Criminal Investigation Department,” he said in a statement on Wednesday (October 19).
Comm Kamarul Zaman said initial investigations revealed that the illegal or long-running pawnshops have been operating for three years.
He said that with the arrest, police had solved cases related to loan sharking activities, including splashing red paint on borrowers’ premises and criminal intimidation.
“There were 18 cases in Iskandar Malaysia and Kluang areas, and one in Bercham, Ipoh,” he said.
He added that the police also seized 12 mobile phones, 12 SIM cards, six bank cards, a check and 46 bank transaction receipts.
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Comm Kamarul Zaman said police also seized four cars, a computer and a logbook containing borrowers’ contact details.
“The modus operandi of this unlicensed money lending syndicate is to advertise its services on Facebook for loans ranging from RM500 to RM30,000,” he said.
He also said the interest charged was 5% to 20% with weekly payments and that borrowers who failed to make the installments would be harassed, along with their family members, while the interest rate was increased. .
He said the suspects will be brought to court for a remand order under Article 117 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to help with the investigation.
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The matter is being investigated under Section 5(2) of the Pawnbrokers Act 1951, which is punishable by a fine of between RM250,000 and RM1 million, or imprisonment for up to five years, or both, if convicted.
“Criminal intimidation is being investigated under Section 506 of the Penal Code and if convicted, suspects could face up to seven years in prison or a fine, or both” , Comm Kamarul Zaman added.
He said Johor Police will not compromise with ah long who disturbed public order and will use all relevant laws to take action against them.
He also advised the public to refrain from borrowing money for a long time due to the high interest rate and the possibility of threats and harm in case of default.