KUCHING: Three local men, aged between 27 and 29, were arrested by the Sarawak Commercial Crime Investigations Department (CCID) to assist in an investigation into an unlicensed moneylending business.
Members of CCID Sarawak, together with those from Kuching District police headquarters, nabbed the suspects during two separate raids here, carried out on July 11 and 13.
“The raids and the arrests were carried out after two police reports were lodged against them (suspects) by two of their victims,” said CCID Sarawak chief Supt Mustafa Kamal Gani Abdullah in a statement yesterday.
The first police report, he pointed out, was lodged on July 10 by a 57-year-old female nurse who lost RM2,400 to the suspects; the second police report was lodged on July 12 by a 48-year-old sales manager who lost RM100,000.
The suspects are alleged to have threatened their victims by claiming that they were a group of influential people who had strong connections with the police.
“The victims were required to pay a weekly or monthly interest of 20 per cent on their loans,” said Mustafa, adding that all three suspects are currently under remand to facilitate investigation.
During the first raid, police seized items worth RM270,000 and three mobile phones from the suspects, while the second raid resulted in the seizure of a luxury vehicle, cash amounting to RM7,997, one mobile phone, six ATM cards and five credit cards.
According to Mustafa, the modus operandi involves attracting victims through the advertisement of their moneylending services on social media platforms such as Facebook and mobile applications.
Last year, the CCID received a total of 46 cases related to unlicensed moneylending operations, resulting in the arrest of 20 suspects and involving losses amounting to RM485,040.
Of the 46 cases, 15 have been brought to court.
Between Jan 1 and July 12 this year, the CCID investigated a total of 25 cases involving losses amounting to RM155,600.
“So far, a total of 17 suspects have been arrested and five cases have been brought to court,” disclosed Mustafa.
In light of these cases, police are advising the public against applying for loans from unlicensed moneylenders or loan sharks, due to the high interest rates, which would become a financial burden in the long run.
“Also, those who have applied for these loans will be constantly threatened and harassed by the loan sharks – a situation that will further cause emotional distress,” added Mustafa.
The public are also advised against being easily influenced by advertisements on social media platforms and mobile applications.
Mustafa also called upon those who had fallen victims to these loan sharks to lodge reports at the nearest police station.