The Police have arrested 160 men and 77 women, aged between 13 and 77 years old, for their suspected involvement in loansharking activities in an operation that took place between 20 July 2020 and 30 July 2020.
During the eleven-day 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 51 suspects are believed to be runners who had assisted the loansharks by carrying out Automated Teller Machine (ATM) transfers, and another 12 suspects are believed to have carried out acts of harassment by splashing paint and scrawling loanshark-related graffiti on walls.
The remaining 174 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 business. 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 to carry on the business of unlicensed moneylending.
- a) 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.
- b) 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 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 to aid unlicensed moneylenders.
Members of public are 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 loansharking activities.
Source: Singapore Police Force