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Police arrest Chinese woman holding 9 PH passports as collaterals for loan

01 November 2021

By Vir B. Lumicao 

9 Philippine passports were seized from the suspect, who allegedly charged interest of 17.6% a month

Police in Tseung Kwan O are investigating a 45-year-old local woman on suspicion of carrying on an unlicensed money lending business at a residential flat in Tseung Kwan O.

The suspect, who was not named, was arrested when officers raided her unit on Oct 25 and recovered nine Philippine passports, the police said in reply to query from The SUN. She has been released on bail and told to report back to the police late this month.

Initial inquiries showed that the woman offered loans totaling around $35,000 to nine victims and asked for their passports and employment contracts as collateral for the loans.

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According to one of the alleged victims, she borrowed $4,000 from the suspect in late May because she urgently needed money for her son’s college tuition fee. She was told to go to Lohas Park for a meet up, and to bring along her passport and contract.

During the meeting, the Chinese woman aged about 30 to 40, who she described as tall and thin with short hair, called her to the toilet where she handed an envelope containing $3,400.

When the borrower asked for the missing $600, the suspect allegedly said it was deducted as advance interest payment of 15% for the loan, which was due at the end of each month. As she got the loan on May 30, she needed to pay the interest upfront.


For each month afterwards, the Filipina said she was supposed to pay $600, which was actually 17.6% interest per month, or a whopping 211% every year. On top of this, a late payment surcharge of $10 a day would be imposed along with the monthly interest payment.

They did not sign any loan agreement, the Filipina said, and the lender gave her a Bank of China account number in which to deposit the interest payment.

The Filipina said she failed to pay her monthly loan installment to the lender, and was worried about repaying the mounting charges and not being able to get back her passport and contract.


Then one day last week, she received a message from the Tseung Kwan O Police asking her if she borrowed money from a Chinese woman in Lohas Park.

When she said yes, the officer told her to go to the police station last weekend to give her statement as the lender had been arrested. The victims were interviewed by the police last Saturday and Sunday.

The police said the suspect was being investigated for “carrying on a business as money lender without a license.” An investigation by the Crime Squad of Tseung Kwan O Police District is underway, the police said.

Consul Paul Saret inspects the 1,500 passports seized from OFC loans company

Throughout the years, the Consulate has consistently warned Filipino workers not to use their passports as loan collateral as these are the property of the Philippine government.

In the wake of the police raid on the OFC lending company in June 2019 when about 1,500 Philippine passports were recovered, the Department of Foreign Affairs issued guidelines declaring all pawned passports as automatically cancelled.

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All those whose passports were found to have been used to take out loans wre told that they needed to go back to the Philippines and apply for a replacement with the DFA passport division.

But the rules were relaxed a bit later, when holders of the cancelled passports were given a second chance. They were told to execute an Affidavit of Undertaking not to re-offend, after which they would be issued a new passport and put under the DFA watchlist. If they re-offend they will forever be barred from getting another passport.

In an unfortunate twist to the loan saga, one of those who borrowed money from OFW ended up taking her own life by hanging, as her financial woes compounded her already troubled personal relationship.


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