Cops arrest 99 loan sharks in Penang

GEORGE TOWN (Bernama): Penang police arrested 99 individuals for being involved in unlicensed moneylending, or "Ah Long", activities in the state from January until Tuesday (Sept 21).

State police chief, Datuk Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain (pic,centre) said a total of 87 cases involving moneylending syndicates, with a loss of RM809,738, were reported during the same period.

"Actually, I am worried over the increase in cases involving Ah Long in Penang because for the first nine months of this year alone, we opened 87 investigation papers and last year, there were 91 investigation papers, so it is likely that the number will increase by the end of this year.

"So I am asking the public not to take loans or get entangled with Ah Long as it will cause problems, including being harassed by the syndicate if they fail to repay their loans," he said at a press conference, here, on Wednesday (Sept 22).

He also urged the public or traders who were approached by Ah Long offering unlicensed loans or were being threatened by them to lodge a report as the police would provide protection for the victims.

Mohd Shuhaily said his team always conducted raids in combating Ah Long activities because, among others, they posed a criminal threat to the borrowers and some loan sharks even injured their victims.

"Continuous operations are carried out to curb Ah Long activities. In fact, we also ask traders or those who are victims of these gangsters to immediately lodge a police report so that action can be taken," he added.

On another development, he said Penang police were satisfied with the level of public compliance with the standard operating procedures (SOP) at the local attractions and popular beaches in the state from Sept 16 to 19, during the public holiday and weekend.

"Initially, we expected the public to flock to the shopping malls, recreational places and beaches, but monitoring of the number of visitors allowed showed there were not too many and they adhered to the SOP set.

"There was also a drop of up to 28% in the number of vehicles on the roads during those four days," he added.

He said police would also use drones when monitoring the popular locations to ensure that actions taken for violating the SOP were based on facts. - Bernama

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