12 ARRESTED IN OPERATION AGAINST LOANSHARKING ACTIVITIES

The Police have arrested ten men and two women, aged between 23 and 63, for their suspected involvement in loansharking activities in an operation that took place between 16 and 18 December 2019.

During the three-day operation, officers from Jurong Police Division conducted simultaneous raids at multiple locations in Singapore, resulting in the arrests. Preliminary investigations revealed that the 12 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 business. Investigations against all the suspects are ongoing.

Opening a bank account, distributing pamphlets, acting as a look-out, being a runner or acting as a harasser for loansharks are criminal activities that have serious consequences, such as a hefty fine, jail term and even caning. Under the Moneylenders' Act (Revised Edition 2010), when a bank account or an ATM card of a 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.

Under the Moneylenders' Act (Revised Edition 2010), first-time offenders found guilty of carrying on the business as an unlicensed moneylender or assisting in the business of unlicensed moneylending may be fined not less than $30,000 and not more $300,000, be imprisoned for a term not exceeding four years and shall also be liable to be punished with caning with not more than six strokes.

Loansharks are also 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 as they will likely be harassed by the loansharks thereafter. The public can report the number as spam and 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