The Police are investigating 222 persons, aged between 15 and 77, for their suspected involvement in loansharking activities following an anti-loansharking operation conducted between 26 October and 8 November 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. Preliminary investigations revealed that nine of the suspects had allegedly conducted harassment at debtors’ residences and 27 suspects are believed to be runners who had assisted the loansharks in their businesses by carrying out Automated Teller Machine (ATM) transfers.
The remaining 186 suspects are believed to have opened bank accounts and given away their ATM cards, Personal Identification Numbers and/or Internet banking tokens 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, ATM card or Internet Banking token of any 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.
- First-time offenders found guilty of carrying on or assisting in a business of unlicensed moneylending shall be punished with a fine 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 a fine of between $5,000 and $50,000, be imprisoned for a term of up to five years, and shall also be liable to be punished with caning between three and six 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.
Loansharks are 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 and report the Whatsapp messages as spam. 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