KULAI – For 13 years, an Ah Long syndicate amassed so much wealth that its members bought property, including tracts of land in Johor, and luxury items worth millions of ringgit.

The interest charged was a staggering 10% to 15% on a daily basis, and with this the syndicate raked in profits of about RM1mil each month.

Bukit Aman teamed up with Johor police to zoom in on the illegal money lenders and on Wed­nesday, 26 suspects were arrested in Johor, Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh under Ops Vulture.

State deputy police chief Senior Asst Comm Datuk Mohd Zakaria Ahmad said the syndicate leader, in his 30s, was arrested as he was trying to buy a piece of land here.

Police believe that the syndicate had bought houses and land in Johor.

“We seized more than RM300,000 in cash, and luxury cars and branded goods from the suspects worth almost RM2.2mil. There were also ATM cards, bank and cheque books, computers, Ah Long posters and weapons such as parang,” he told a press conference here yesterday.

SAC Mohd Zakaria said investigations showed that the syndicate had ties with a secret society here and wanted to “expand” to Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur.

It sent notices via registered mail to borrowers, warning them to pay up or face dire consequences.

“This group is quite violent as they abduct and torture borrowers who do not pay up,” he said.

SAC Mohd Zakaria said police have identified the remaining members of the syndicate and more arrests would be made soon.

He said those arrested were being detained until Sunday under the Moneylenders Act 1951, Anti-Money Laundering Act, and the Prevention of Crime Act.

In Kuala Lumpur, Federal Commercial Crime Investigation Department director Comm Datuk Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani gave more details on the police success against the syndicate.

“We launched a series of raids between 10am on Wednesday and 4am on Thursday in Johor and Perak,” he said.

The syndicate, he said, distributed business cards and flyers at housing and commercial areas.