“These bands made loans of between US$ 100 and US$ 1,000 at a high interest rate. Those who do not pay are physically attacked, and in many cases, there have been execution-style murders, said security analyst, Héctor Chávez Villao, University of Guayaquil. Contract killing is a practice of organized crime in the region that involves paying up to US$ 400 dollars to hire hitmen, who offer their services on the internet in some cases, in order to solve problems such debt collection, infidelity, or enmities. The highest percentage of killings occurs in San Lorenzo, Esmeraldas, located near the border with Colombia. In 2009, almost 50% of the 288 cases of contract killings per month registered in Ecuador were in this city. In 2010, the average rose to 320 murders per month in hitman style killings, according to a report by El Comercio. Ecuador reduces homicide rate The National Police of Ecuador dealt hard blows in 2013 to gangs engaged in extortion and loan sharking to around 35,000 victims. These crimes have been responsible for many of the killing and waves of violence in the country in the past years. Extortion and usury gangs have mostly targeted small traders and sub-employed individuals, who were paying up to 20% in interest per month, according to authorities. In one of the last operations of the year at the national level called “Gray Night”, carried out on December 19, the police arrested 46 members of a band of loan sharks, and confiscated around 60,000 dollars in cash, 18 vehicles, 17 computers, and thousands of record booklets, supposedly with the names of the victims of the alleged loan sharks. Usury linked to the money laundering and murder In September, police arrested 18 members of a band, among them, “Reguee”, alias of the alleged leader of the gang. According to the police, the organization was composed of the leader, three trusted men, six gunmen, an arms supplier, five drug dealers, and two transporters of alkaloid. The alleged arms supplier, alias “Goku”, was captured in Monte Sinaí, a neighborhood in the northwest area of Guayaquil. In order to locate and arrest this criminal network, police relied on intelligence work for approximately two months. Four cars, eight motorcycles, five motors, and two firearms were among the evidence found. “Reguee” falls Government campaign against usury By Dialogo December 28, 2013 “Around 35,000 people in six provinces throughout the country have been victims of usury or “chulco” in Ecuador,” Interior Minister of Ecuador, José Serrano, said during the First Inter-Agency Workshop on Strategies to Combat Usury, which was held in Quito on December 20-21. On July 4, Serrano announced the start of a national campaign against usury led by the Interior Ministry, Judicial Council, and National Police, which includes a plan for rewards of up to US$ 50,000. The city with the second highest number of cases of execution style killings is Guayaquil, at 26%, according to the report. “The fight against this type of crime is essential if you want to reduce the levels of violence in the country,” Chávez said. “This is a vicious cycle in which ‘chulqueros’ (loan sharks) take advantage of those who need money and high interest rates preclude payments; it generates waves of violence.” “The killings that result from ‘chulco’ have reflected in the country’s murder rates in recent years,” Chávez said. Ecuador has managed to lower the rate for murders and killings nationwide by 27% between 2008 and 2012, according to figures from the National Police of Ecuador. The reduction is significant, considering that in 2008, the number of homicides steadily grew and reached 21 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants with 2,638 killings, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). In 2010, Ecuador managed to reduce this rate to 18.2%, according to UNODC. By the end of 2012, this figure had dropped to 1,884, the lowest figure in the last twelve years in Ecuador. The countries with the highest rates are Honduras (81.91), El Salvador (65.09), Jamaica (39.52), Colombia (29.99), Dominican Republic (23.47) and Mexico (21.69), according to the Inter-American Observatory on Security. The hotline to report usury is 1-800-delito (335-486). That is very good news but here in Connecticut there is ONE group of people who are loan sharks and take advantage of people. They intimidate them and threaten with turning them into immigration. They take their cars, constantly harass them and isolate them from their families. I am one of the victims and I need help. The number you posted is missing ONE digit.
Press Association Louis van Gaal will not make a call on Radamel Falcao’s future until the striker has an extended run in the Manchester United first team. Despite a difficult, injury-hit start to life at Old Trafford, Falcao this week spelled out his desire to stay at the club beyond the end of the season. The Colombian, who is on a season-long loan from Monaco, says he is settled in Manchester and happy at the club despite scoring just once in eight appearances. Van Gaal also endured a difficult start to life in England, but his team have turned a corner of late. The win over Liverpool kept United in third position, eight points shy of leaders Chelsea. United may have won six successive games, but so far their performances have not been up to scratch, Van Gaal admits. Sir Alex Ferguson made a habit of winning titles on the back of occasionally scrappy displays, but Van Gaal, ever the perfectionist, wants to see performances as well as results. “I am not only focused on results,” said the Dutchman, who has won leagues in Holland, Spain and Germany. “When I speak with Sir Alex (about playing badly and still winning), he says, ‘It’s not any problem, you have won’, but for me it’s also the performances that are very important because when you perform you shall win more and that’s what I want to show to the fans. “When you win six times in a row then the confidence is rising, but I am still looking for a game that is closer to the perfect game than we have given until now.” Liverpool managed to breach the United defence on several occasions last weekend, but they could not find a way past David de Gea, who put in yet another outstanding display in goal. The 24-year-old won the man of the match award against the Reds after saving superbly from Raheem Sterling and Mario Balotelli. Just like he did post-match on Sunday, Van Gaal snapped when asked about the progress of negotiations with the Spaniard over an extension to his current contract, which expires in 18 months. “No,” was his terse reply when questioned on the subject. Van Gaal also bristled when pressed about Victor Valdes, the former Barcelona goalkeeper has been training at United for two months. Valdes is currently recovering from a serious knee injury and is free to sign for any club. Liverpool have been linked with the 32-year-old after Brendan Rodgers dropped Simon Mignolet last weekend. When asked about the reports linking Valdes with Anfield, Van Gaal said: “Ok, then he goes to Liverpool… You are suggesting and it’s a big mistake to do that as the media. “That’s why I am always angry because you are inventing stories. There are no stories. He is training here. I give him the possibility and then we shall see.” Van Gaal said British record signing Angel di Maria could return from a hamstring injury for the Saturday’s game. “Maybe I shall select him on the bench or in the team. There’s one training session to go,” Van Gaal said of the £59.7million signing, who has missed the last three games. Marouane Fellaini has been ruled out through illness. Van Gaal will not be rushed into making a decision on whether to exercise his right to sign the player in a £43.5million deal though. The United manager wants the former Porto and Atletico Madrid striker to prove his fitness and form first. “He hasn’t played so much,” Van Gaal said when asked about the possibility of signing Falcao. “You cannot see too much of a player if he doesn’t train so much. “He has been injured a lot of time. First you have to be fit. “Now he shows fitness in the training sessions so maybe I shall select him (for Saturday’s game at Aston Villa), maybe for the bench or the line up. Let’s wait and see.” Falcao’s last start came on October 5 when he scored his one and only goal for the club against Everton. Van Gaal fielded teenage striker James Wilson ahead of the two-time Ballon d’Or nominee for last week’s 3-0 win over Liverpool.