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Chiba: Loan sharking ring charged 50 times legal interest

CHIBA (TR) – Chiba Prefectural Police have have busted a loan sharking ring that charged interest more than 50 times the legal rate, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Feb. 21).

Between last August and October, Shinsuke Hayakawa, a 38-year-old employee in the construction industry, and three other suspects allegedly collected a total of 120,000 yen in interest payments from two men in Aichi Prefecture that was paid to the bank account of another party.

The interest rate charged by the suspects reached up to 1,189 percent, which exceeds that allowed under the Investment Law by a factor of 55, according to the Chiba-Chuo Police Station.

Shinsuke Hayakawa
Shinsuke Hayakawa (Twitter)

Hayakawa and two of the other suspects deny the allegations. The fourth suspect admits to the charges, police said.

The use of the third-party account was to evade a bust by law enforcement, police said.

In promoting the service, the suspects claimed on internet bulletin board sites to offer lenient repayment terms, a practice referred to as “soft loan sharking.”