Police bust loan shark syndicate, father borrows HK$80,000 for son’s education, repays HK$160,000, but debt remains

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Tai Yuk-lun

7th December 2023 – (Hong Kong) In a recent operation, the New Territories North Regional Crime Unit successfully dismantled a loan shark syndicate controlled by triad members. The group operated with exorbitant interest rates of up to 2,950% and imposed severe penalties, including a fine of HK$1,000 for being just one minute late in repayment.

One victim, a 27-year-old unemployed father, borrowed a total of HK$80,000 to cover his son’s school expenses. However, despite repaying HK$160,000, he remains trapped in a cycle of debt, with the outstanding amount continuing to accumulate. The victim describes the situation as falling into an abyss with no end in sight.

According to Chief Inspector Tai Yuk-lun from the New Territories North Regional Crime Unit, the father worked in a restaurant but faced financial difficulties due to the pandemic. To meet the educational needs of his son, he had no choice but to turn to an illegal lending group. Initially, he borrowed HK$5,000, but only received HK$3,700 after deducting a service fee of HK$1,300. In addition, he was required to repay HK$800 in interest every week until the loan was fully repaid.

The loan company imposed harsh conditions, including the hefty penalty of HK$1,000 for being just one minute late in repayment. Despite repaying double the borrowed amount, the father is still uncertain about the total outstanding balance, as he continues to face harassment from loan sharks.