Police on Wednesday said they had arrested 41 men suspected of running an illegal car-rental service in the southern coastal city of Busan after a monthslong investigation.
Investigators said one suspect, surnamed Choi, had been arrested while the remaining 40, including a 31-year-old alleged dealer surnamed Baik, had been booked without physical detention on suspicion of violating South Korea’s Passenger Transport Service Act.
The men allegedly collected 1.6 billion won ($1.4 million) from clients looking to rent expensive brand-name cars with personal license plates to give the impression that they owned the cars.
Clients reportedly paid 500,000 to 1.5 million won per day to rent cars with luxury brand names such as Ferrari, Maserati, Porsche Cayenne and Audi.
Choi, 34, and 20 others are accused of operating as loan sharks and providing the vehicles to Baik, who is accused of running an illegal car-rental company.
Individuals in need of quick cash would borrow money from Choi and the others using the luxury cars for collateral, police said. Other luxury cars with temporary license plates are said to have been provided by organized crime rings in Busan.
Twelve men, including a 27-year-old suspect surnamed Doh, are also accused of lending luxury vehicles to the rental company that they had either registered or leased under their names. They allegedly received generous commissions in return.
Police say Baik admitted upon interrogation that he had knowingly allowed a client without a driver’s license to rent a car after “getting greedy with money,” police said. The suspects also confessed to threatening a client who had damaged a vehicle, essentially coercing a promise to pay 200 million won, police said.
The Korea Herald by Herald Corporation
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