2 HK nationals, 8 OFWs nabbed for ‘loan sharking’
A Hong Kong couple and eight Filipino domestic helpers were arrested in connection with loan sharking, which allegedly victimized other Filipino domestics.
South China Morning Post reported that the ringleader couple, aged 49 and 50 years, lent money to Filipino helpers from March to October last year. They employed the eight Filipino helpers, who would receive referral fees for every loan, to help them thrive in their loan scheme.
Each victim borrowed cash from 4,000 to 15,000 Hong Kong dollars (P26,000 to P97,000), but they were made to pay a monthly interest of 10 percent, which is twice the limit for loans. In total, the couple amassed the tremendous amount of HK$12 million (P77.5 million).
“The debtors were required to surrender their passports and employment contracts as security,” Supt. Chan Hon-ming of the Organized Crime and Triad Bureau told local press on Tuesday. “Passports and employment contracts would be returned to the debtors if they could settle their loan by making a one-off payment.”
Hong Kong authorities identified the couple and their Filipino aides earlier in January and launched a two-month probe on their illegal activities. During police busts on Sunday and Monday, cops acquired HK$106,000 (P685,000), 242 Philippine passports and a stash of employment contracts, bank statements, debit notes and receipts.
Local news site The Standard reported that authorities had informed the Philippine consulate, which promised to reissue passports to the victimized overseas Filipino workers. Gianna Francesca Catolico /ra/rga
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