The Police have arrested 71 men and 36 women, aged between 16 and 72, for their suspected involvement in loansharking activities in an operation conducted from 24 to 26 September 2018.
During the three-day operation, officers from the Criminal Investigation Department and the six police land divisions conducted simultaneous raids at multiple locations islandwide, resulting in the arrests. Preliminary investigations revealed that 23 suspects are believed to be runners who had carried out Automated Teller Machine (ATM) transfers on behalf of loansharks, and two other suspects are believed to have carried out acts of loanshark harassment by splashing paint and scrawling loanshark-related graffiti on walls.
The remaining 82 suspects are believed to have opened bank accounts and given away their ATM cards and Personal Identification Numbers to loansharks to facilitate their unlicensed moneylending businesses. Investigations 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 five years, a fine of between $5,000 and $50,000, and shall also be liable to caning of between three and six strokes.
The Police 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. This would include taking action against those who open or give away their bank account/s to aid unlicensed moneylenders.
Loansharks are increasingly sending unsolicited loan advertisements via text messages or online platforms. Members of the public are reminded not to reply or respond to such advertisements, and report the number as spam. Members of the public are also advised 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.
Source: Singapore Police Force