GEORGE TOWN: A total of 20 individuals including a Datuk Seri believed to be connected to Gang 24 were arrested by police for their alleged involvement in illegal moneylending syndicates.
Penang police chief Comm Datuk Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain said the suspects were part of three groups who were arrested during an operation that was conducted between 6am and 5pm on July 7.
According to Comm Mohd Shuhaily, in the first raid, 15 suspects including a 59-year-old who said he was a Datuk Seri, were arrested by police.
"The group was believed to have illegally offered cash loans and charged high interest rates of up to 50% per month to their customers," he said during a press conference at the state police headquarters on Wednesday (July 14).
Comm Mohd Shuhaily said in the second raid, police busted another loan shark group known as “Kumpulan Wong”, and arrested four suspects including their 25-year-old mastermind.
He said in the last raid, a loan shark, who operated alone, was also arrested during the operation that included the state and Bukit Aman police commercial crime units.
He said all the suspects aged between 21 and 59 were nabbed in various locations in George Town.
He said during the operation, police also seized a total of 11 luxury cars, 36 handphones, 64 ATM cards, 22 sets of documents, RM24,520 in cash, nine watches and seven pieces of jewellery.
He said police believed that these groups resorted to violence and threatened their victims who failed to pay on time.
"Among their targeted victims were shop owners, factory workers and those who are desperate for cash especially during the pandemic," he said, adding that the groups had weapons in their possession that were used to threaten their victims.
The case will be investigated under Section 5(2) of the Moneylenders Act 1951 for carrying out moneylending activities without a valid licence.