Police have smashed a syndicate that used foreign domestic helpers to obtain fraudulent loans from finance companies.
On Wednesday, officers from the Commercial Crime Bureau arrested a 54-year-old Nepalese man, who is believed to be the mastermind, and 16 Indonesian women aged 24 to 54, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The syndicate targeted finance companies and worked with Indonesian maids who were about to return home or whose contracts were going to expire.
The group forged employment contracts and visas and used them to get loans from finance companies which typically don’t make loans to foreign maids with expiring contracts or who are leaving soon, investigators said.
At least 23 Indonesian maids applied for loans worth a combined HK$600,000 (US$77,265) under fraudulent circumstances between June 2015 and December 2016, according to Sing Tao Daily.
About HK$370,000 of the amount had been approved, police said. The syndicate collected commissions of up to HK$7,000 for each approved loan.
The suspects are under custody on charges of conspiracy to defraud. The police are looking for nine Indonesian maids who remain at large. They are believed to have returned home.
The arrests came after the police detained a Hong Kong man and his wife on Monday for allegedly hiring Filipino maids to work for an underground loan-shark operation.
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