JOHOR BARU: They operated from luxury apartments in the city, giving business and personal loans to locals and those working in Singapore.
When these people were unable to pay up, the loan sharks would start harassing and threatening them.
In some cases, they were believed to have splashed paint on the victims’ houses and even locked up their homes with padlocks.
However, their illegal activities came to an abrupt end when police arrested at least nine gang members in separate raids on two luxury apartments in Johor over the past few days.
Police investigations showed that the suspects were wanted in many cases involving a few hundred thousand ringgit, with reports lodged in Johor and other parts of the country.
Police have since seized an array of items from the suspects including computers, mobile phones, ATM cards and four books complete with the details of dozens of borrowers and cash.
All the suspects, aged between 18 and 50, have since been remanded to assist investigations.
It is learnt that some of those arrested had prior convictions for drugs and offences under the Money Lenders Act.
Sources said police were tracking down the remaining gang members.
Meanwhile, Johor Commercial Crimes Investigations Department head Asst Comm Mohd Salleh Abdullah confirmed the arrest of the nine suspects and said investigations were underway.
However, he declined to elaborate on the details of the investigations.
He advised the public not to borrow from loan sharks and urged those with information on such activities to contact the police hotline at 07-221 2999.