Two Hong Kong residents and eight Filipino domestic workers were arrested on loan sharking charges in a police operation on Sunday and Monday.
The money lending syndicate had made a profit of HK$12 million (US$1.55 million) between March and October, 2016, by offering loans worth HK$10 million to 1,200 Filipino domestic helpers, Metro Daily said citing Hong Kong police sources.
A 50-year-old Hong Kong man and his 49-year-old wife were held by police for running the syndicate while the eight arrested Filipinos were identified as middle agents. Over HK$100,000 cash, loan contracts and 242 Filipino passports were seized.
According to police, the couple had offered loans ranging from HK$4,000 to HK$15,000 at a monthly rate of 10 percent and used the borrowers’ passports and employment contracts as collateral. The agents would receive referral fees of HK$50 to HK$100 for each successful loan. In addition, police believe the syndicate consistently overcharged the borrowers.
The police said it started the investigation in January after victims sought help from the Consulate General of the Philippines.