JOHOR BARU: The efforts of putting a stop to ah long syndicates in the state have been described as timely, but more operations should be carried out to weed out the problem.
Johor Baru MCA public complaints bureau chief Michael Tay said loan sharks were now operating in smaller groups to avoid detection and arrest.
"They now have a sales team and then hire thugs to collect the payments from defaulters," he said, adding that they also had funders to support their illegal operations.
Tay hoped more operations would be carried out in the state, as the numbers of people seeking his assistance on such matters were on the rise.
"Some of the ah long are charging up to 20% interest.
"Sadly, many of those turning to such loan sharks are those with gambling habits," he said when asked to comment about The Star's exclusive report on 21 ah long members from three syndicates being busted in Johor recently.
It was reported that the illegal moneylenders were operating from luxury condominiums and high-end houses around the state.
Many of their targets were those working in Singapore, as well as people who needed fast cash and were willing to pay interest rates of between 24% to 60% annually.
The activities of these illegal moneylenders in Johor came to an end with the arrest of 21 people, including a woman, following a series of raids in the city over the past few days.
These raids have seen the biggest arrest of loan sharks this year, after three major syndicates were taken down in the state.
The arrests were made during a major operation, led by officers from Bukit Aman’s Commercial Crimes Investigations Department, together with their local counterparts.
On his latest loan shark case on Tuesday (Sept 17), Tay said it was sad that the parents had to disown their son after being harassed by loan sharks.
The parents decided to cut all ties with their 21-year-old son as he didn't learn his lesson despite them helping him to settle of RM80,000's worth of loans with about 20 loan sharks.