Police said on Saturday they arrested 15 people allegedly linked to six illegal debt collection activities involving a total of more than HK$19 million.
The suspects, aged 14 to 68, have been charged with criminal damage, bodily injury and criminal intimidation.
Officers believed that some of them had triad ties and that different gangs were behind the debt collection groups.
Inspector Chen Tsz-chuen said the suspects allegedly attacked debtors, set up loan collection letters and made threats, including calling and texting.
In one particular case, the inspector said, multiple locations on a cryptocurrency exchange chain were damaged and splattered with red paint.
He added that police arrested the suspects at the scene before more damage was done.
Chen said the youngest person arrested, a 14-year-old student, allegedly played a relatively important role in the debt collection process, and said police urged the youths not to break the law.
“At the same time, we call on parents to be careful with their children to see if they might be planning to make a quick buck, or have income from unknown sources, to prevent them from falling down the wrong path,” he added. he said.
Two of the suspects were charged with criminal damage and officers said further arrests could be made.