SEPANG: Police have crippled a gang involved in an illegal money-lending operation thatforced loan defaulters to strip and pose for pictures.
Police recovered 31 photographs of 18 nude men and a housewife — believed to be victimsof the gang — following the arrest of a 33-year-old loan shark, his right-hand man and agang member in Dengkil, near here, state CID chief Senior Asst Comm (II) Abu Bakar Mustaffa said.
The incident unfolded after a 45-year-old self-employed man lodged a police report lastSaturday that four members of the gang, headed by the loan shark’s right-hand man,abducted him from his house in Dengkil and took him to the loan shark’s house nearby at9.30pm on May 1.
The victim claimed that the gang threatened to kill him if he could not settle the outstanding amount of several thousandringgit.
He was then taken to the loan shark’s office in Taman Mutiara where he was assaulted,forced to strip and photographed.
SAC Abu Bakar said police arrested the loan shark at his home the day the report waslodged. They arrested his righthand man on Monday when he was called to the police station.
”The loan shark led us to his office and his father’s house where we recovered bank account books and the nude photographs.”
SAC Abu Bakar said police went back to the office on Tuesday and detained a memberof the gang. An instamatic camera was recovered.
He added that there could be more arrests because investigations were under way.
“Some of the borrowers gave their bank account books, automated teller machine (ATM)cards, identity cards, driving licences and electrical appliances to the gang as collateral for loans,” he said.
He said police seized 77 account books of various banks, 44 ATM cards, five televisionsets, an Astro decoder, six VCD players, three VCR players, five hi-fi speakers, an identity card, a driving licence and a security card from the suspects.
Initial investigations revealed that the gang’s money-lending activities ran into hundreds of thousands of ringgit and spanned the last two years.
Most of their “customers” were locals who borrowed between RM1,000 and several thousand ringgit.
SAC Abu Bakar appealed to those who had their pictures taken by the gang and also toother borrowers to come forward to help in their investigations.