Erin Chan

Police believe they have smashed a syndicate that conned over 520 victims of HK$55 million by luring them into joining two loan schemes.

The 32 suspects, 29 men and three women aged 18 to 55, were arrested for money laundering and conspiracy to launder money in a two-day operation from last Thursday to Friday.

Among the arrests were two masterminds and several core members, some of whom were call center staff and senior triad society members.

Three syndicate-controlled call centers in Hung Hom, Tsuen Wan and Cheung Sha Wan were also crippled in the operation.

Commercial Crime Bureau chief inspector Or Wing-yan said the 520 victims were jobless individuals, drivers, housewives and professionals, aged between 20 and 81.

The “biggest victim” was a 27-year-old jobless woman, who lost up to HK$1.85 million.

Financial Intelligence and Investigation Bureau chief inspector Lai Wai-chun said the victims reported to the police between last year and last month, and in July police also received tip-offs that the syndicate had applied for the government’s “100 percent personal loan guarantee scheme” with a virtual bank by providing false information.

The scheme, launched in April, claimed to provide…

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