A total of 15 mainland Chinese was arrested in operations by police in Macau and in neighbouring Zhuhai during Friday, on suspicion of involvement in a gambler-targeted loan-sharking ring. Macau’s Judiciary Police gave the information in a media briefing on Saturday. Of the 15 arrested, three were said to have been detained at a “Cotai hotel room” by Macau officers.
The three males arrested by the Judiciary Police on Friday were suspected of the unlawful detention of a mainland Chinese couple in the Cotai hotel room. The police found their passports in the possession of one of the men arrested at the hotel room.
The action on Friday was a joint operation conducted by the Judiciary Police, Zhuhai Municipal Public Security Bureau and Guangdong Provincial Public Security Department.
During Saturday’s briefing, Macau Judiciary Police spokesman Choi Ian Fai said the suspected loan-sharking ring was believed to have operated for more than a year, and is thought to have loaned out more than CNY8 million yuan (US$1.3 million).
The suspects were believed to be engaged in unlawful detention of gamblers that failed to repay gambling loans issued to them in Macau by the suspects or their associates. Such gamblers would be taken to Zhuhai for further detention if they failed to make repayment within their permitted visa stay in Macau, Mr Choi noted.
“The ringleader of this criminal group is based in Zhuhai and through the use of mobile phone applications or calls, he instructed the members in Macau on how to loan… the group members also made regular reports on how much they have loaned; how much is charged as commission as well as the detention status [of gamblers],” Mr Choi said during the briefing, outlining the alleged system used by the suspects.
Macau’s Judiciary Police had tip-offs in January from their colleagues in Guangdong regarding the suspects’ group.
Macau and mainland Chinese police are still tracking the whereabouts of the alleged ringleader and some other associates thought to be on the run, Mr Choi noted on Saturday.
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