Police in the north-central province of Quang Binh have arrested two men for operating an illegal loan shark ring that charged debtors interests of up to 365 percent a year and required them to submit their nude photos as collateral for the loans.
The provincial Department of Public Security confirmed on Saturday it had broken up a loan shark racket run by Luong Minh Ngoc, 25, and Nguyen Thai Quy, 28.
Police investigation showed that Ngoc and Quy previously operated a pawn service in Dong Hoi City.
They later created multiple accounts on such social media platforms as Zalo and Facebook to advertise their lending service.
When someone needed to borrow money from the ring, Ngoc would take photos of debtors and require them to hand over their IDs and sign a receipt to validate the loans.
Ngoc and Minh offered loans of between VND5 million (US$220) and VND150 million ($6,600), while the interest rate was 180 to 365 percent a year.
Debtors who were unable to hand over their IDs could submit nude photos and videos of themselves as collateral for the loans.
If they failed to pay up, Ngoc and Quy would use various ways to pressure them, including threatening to post the sensitive images and videos online.
From 2018 to 2021, the ring had lent billions of dong (VND1 billion = $44,000) to many people in Quang Binh Province.
Officers have also searched Ngoc and Quy’s pawn shop and found many documents proving their illegal activities.