The Police have arrested 112 men and 74 women, aged between 18 and 70, for their suspected involvement in loansharking activities in an operation conducted between 18 May 2020 and 29 May 2020.
During the two-week operation, officers from the Criminal Investigation Department and the seven police land divisions conducted simultaneous raids at multiple locations island-wide, resulting in the arrests. Preliminary investigations revealed that 12 suspects are believed to have carried out acts of harassment by splashing paint and scrawling loanshark-related graffiti on walls of residential units while another 33 suspects are believed to be runners who had assisted the loansharks by carrying out Automated Teller Machine (ATM) transfers. One suspect had also assisted the loansharks in their business by subscribing to a handphone line.
The remaining 140 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 against all the suspects are ongoing.
Under the Moneylenders’ Act (Revised Edition 2010), when a handphone line, 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 carrying on the business of unlicensed moneylending.
- 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 4 years and shall also be liable to be punished with caning of up to 6 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 at least 3 strokes.
The Police will continue to take tough enforcement action against those involved in the loansharking business, regardless of their roles, and they will be dealt with severely in accordance with the law. This would include taking action against those who open or give away their bank account/s or subscribe handphone lines to aid unlicensed moneylenders.
Members of the public are advised to stay away from loansharks and not to work with or assist them 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