Police in Can Tho City and Tien Giang Province, both in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, conducted administrative inspections at 26 branches of the F88 pawnshop in the two localities to assess their compliance with laws on business operations last week.
Such examinations took place at 13 F88 branches in Can Tho on Saturday and at 13 other offices in Tien Giang a day earlier, local police forces reported.
The inspections focused on books of accounts, business operation reports, loan and mortgage contracts, and other documents at these branches to detect law violations, if any.
These checks came after police in Ho Chi Minh City raided the F88 headquarters in Go Vap District and its branches across the city on March 6.
F88, with its full name being F88 Business Joint Stock Company, was established in 2013 as a firm engaging in conditional business lines.
It offers loans with customers’ autos, motorcycles, mobile phones, and laptops used as collateral.
The company was suspected of appropriating assets through lending activities and the aforementioned inspections were aimed at serving an investigation.
During their examinations in Tien Giang, police officers discovered all the inspected F88 branches failing to make or keep their books, business records, and financial reports adequately and correctly as required by applicable regulations.
Their business registration dossiers contained many dishonest and inaccurate details, inspectors said.
|This image shows police officers during an administrative inspection at an F88 branch in My Tho City of Tien Giang Province in southern Vietnam, March 17, 2023. Photo: Quang Lap / Tuoi Tre
Inspectors found nearly 3,700 loan contracts under which a total amount of over VND42.5 billion (US$1.8 million) had been disbursed to borrowers, who had to repay their debts by installments every month plus an interest rate of 7.5 percent per month.
In addition, borrowers were asked to pay a tax amount equal to their monthly installment payment, investigators said.
Notably, these facilities arbitrarily used personal information and images of their borrowers to make notices of search for 'swindlers,' which they used to refer to debtors with outstanding debts, investigators reported.
The details of the examinations at the F88 headquarters and its 13 branches in Can Tho have yet to be announced.
F88, which has reported fast growth in Vietnam, currently has 830 offices nationwide.
The company successfully mobilized a series C investment totaling $50 million early this month from the Vietnam-Oman Investment Fund and the Mekong Enterprise Fund IV.
Last year, it raised $70 million from Hong Kong’s CLSA Capital Partners Limited and the UK’s Lendable.
The aforementioned inspections came as the Ministry of Public Security and police in many localities have recently busted many debt collection rings that appropriated assets of debtors.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been threatened and terrorized for their late debt payments, the ministry said.