An Auckland loan shark who targeted New Zealand casino gamblers has been fined and banned from lending.
Yuan Rong Yang, former owner of Sunway Finance Limited and money lender to Auckland’s Chinese community and gamblers at SkyCity Auckland casino, has been fined $22,500 and banned from lending indefinitely by Auckland District Court.
Yang pleaded guilty to two charges brought by the Commerce Commission under the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act 2003 (CCCFA) for not providing key information to his customers about their loans. In addition to his fine and ban, he has been ordered to pay $3000 to the complainant in this case and six other existing loan contracts have been voided.
“Mr. Yang operated his business without disclosing any basic information to borrowers, including his method for charging interest, the credit fees and charges, the amount of each repayment and total number of payments required. The law requires lenders to disclose this information, and more, to ensure that borrowers can properly understand the obligations they are committing to when taking out a loan,” said Commissioner Anna Rawlings.
Judge Mary Sharp, during the hearing, described him as “an unscrupulous lender, a loan shark” who was charging “exorbitant and appalling” interest rates.
The charges filed by the Commission relate to Yang lending his own money between March 2012 and June 2013.
Yang allegedly charged borrowers about $50 per week interest on a loan of $1000 – an annual interest rate of about 260%.
When interviewed by the Commission, Yang admitted personally loaning money to seven customers without providing any loan documentation to the but saying that he did not have any knowledge of the CCCFA or his obligations under it, nor his requirement to be registered under the Financial Services Providers Act 2008.
SkyCity Auckland served Yang with a trespass notice in November 2012, banning him from entering the casino.
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The decision clears the way for construction to begin on the $450m project, which will feature a 5-star, 300-room hotel, 30-storey office, before Christmas. SkyCity has completed the preliminary design work and is exploring options with external investors for the development and future ownership of the hotel.