The Police have arrested 68 men and 38 women, aged between 17 and 83, for their suspected involvement in loansharking activities in a three-day operation that ended on 31 May 2017.
During the islandwide operation, officers from the Criminal Investigation Department (CIDand the six Police land divisions conducted simultaneous raids at multiple locations to effect the arrests. Preliminary investigations revealed that nine suspects are believed to have carried out acts of loanshark-harassment by splashing paint and scrawling loanshark-related graffiti on walls, while four suspects are believed to be runners who had assisted the loansharks in their businesses by carrying out Automated Teller Machine (ATMtransfers and collecting debts. Another suspect is believed to have provided false contact information for purpose of obtaining loan.
The remaining 92 suspects are believed to have opened bank accounts and given away their ATM cards and Personal Identification Numbers (PINsto loansharks to facilitate their unlicensed moneylending businesses. Investigations against all 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 a 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 assisting in 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 5 years, a fine of between $5,000 and $50,000, and shall also be liable to caning of between 3 and 6 strokes.
The Police will continue to take tough enforcement action against those involved in loansharking activities, regardless of their roles, and they will face the full brunt of the law. This includes those who open or give away their bank account/s to aid unlicensed moneylenders.
Members of the public are advised to stay away from loansharks and not 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 loansharking activities.
Source: Singapore Police Force