Singapore Police Force (SPF) has arrested 83 men and 31 women, aged between 17 and 67, for their suspected involvement in loansharking activities in a three-day operation that ended on 29 March 2017.
During the islandwide operation, the police said that officers from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and the six police land divisions conducted simultaneous raids at multiple locations in Singapore.
“Preliminary investigations revealed that 23 suspects are believed to be runners who had assisted the loansharks in their businesses by carrying out Automated Teller Machine (ATM) transfers and collecting debts in person,” according to SPF’s statement.
The police stated that it also arrested two suspects who are believed to have carried out acts of loanshark harassment by splashing paint and scrawling loanshark-related graffiti on walls. The remaining 89 suspects are believed to have opened bank accounts and given away their ATM cards and Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) to loansharks to facilitate their unlicensed moneylending businesses.
Investigations against the suspects are ongoing.
Under the Moneylenders’ Act (Revised Edition 2010), when a bank account or ATM card of any person is used to facilitate moneylending by an unlicensed moneylender, that person is presumed to have assisted in the carrying on the business of unlicensed moneylending.
- First-time offenders found guilty of carrying on or assisting with the business of unlicensed moneylending may be fined between $30,000 and $300,000, be imprisoned for a term of up to four years and shall also be liable to be punished with caning of up to six strokes.
- First-time offenders found guilty of acting on behalf of an unlicensed moneylender, committing or attempting to commit any acts of harassment shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of up to five years, a fine of between $5,000 and $50,000, and shall also be liable to caning of between three and six strokes.
- Any person who is guilty of providing false contact information to obtain loans from loansharks shall be liable upon conviction to imprisonment for a term of up to 12 months.
The police stressed that it will continue to take tough enforcement action against those involved in the loansharking business, regardless of their roles, and they will face the full brunt of the law which would include taking action against those who open or give away their bank account/s to aid unlicensed moneylenders.
The police advise members of the public to stay away from loansharks and not to work with or assist the loansharks in any way. The public can call the police at ‘999’ or the X-Ah Long hotline at 1800-924-5664 if they suspect or know of anyone who could be involved in illegal loansharking activities.