The Police have arrested 207 men and 66 women, aged between 16 and 70, for their suspected involvement in loansharking activities in an operation conducted between 24 August and 6 September 2020.
During the two-week operation, officers from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and the seven Police land divisions conducted simultaneous raids at multiple locations island-wide, resulting in the arrests. Preliminary investigations revealed that 67 suspects are believed to be runners who had assisted the loansharks in their businesses by carrying out Automated Teller Machine (ATM) transfers and collecting debts in person. 7 suspects are believed to be harassers who had carried out acts of harassment by splashing paint and scrawling loanshark-related graffiti on walls.
The remaining 199 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 businesses. 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.
- First-time offenders found guilty of carrying on or 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 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 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 accounts 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 illegal loansharking activities.
Source: Singapore Police Force