The Police have observed the prevalence of several forms of harassment acts adopted by unlicensed moneylenders (UMLs). These generally involve getting unsuspecting person(s) or businesses to harass debtors.
In some cases, potential borrowers would be directed to a given address belonging to a debtor, where they would be instructed to undertake several forms of harassment such as attempting to collect debts owed to the UML. There were also instances where businesses were directed to these addresses when none of the house occupants had engaged their services. In other cases, the UML leveraged on online dating, match-making or social networking platforms to lure unsuspecting male subjects to cause alarm at the debtor's residential address on the pretext of looking for their 'dates'.
Under the Moneylenders Act, first-time offenders found guilty of acting on behalf of an UML, 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 would like to advise members of the public to adopt the following crime prevention measures:
Do not take up loans from UMLs
If required, only engage the services of licensed moneylenders listed on the Ministry of Law's Registry of Moneylenders website at https://www.mlaw.gov.sg/content/rom/en/information-for-borrowers/list-of-licensed-moneylenders-in-singapore.html.
Do not assist UMLs in conducting unlawful harassment against other parties;
Be wary when befriending unknown persons from online dating, match-making or social networking websites;
Arrange for meet-ups at a public area.
Anyone with information can call the Police Hotline at 1800-255-0000, or submit it online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness. For urgent Police assistance, please dial '999'.
Members of the public may also call the National Crime Prevention Council's X-Ah Long Hotline at 1800-924-5664. They are also advised to share this advisory with family and friends.
Source: Singapore Police Force