121 Arrested In Two Anti-Loansharking Operations
The Police have arrested a total of 87 men and 34 women, for their suspected involvement in loansharking activities.
In a three-day operation that ended on 28 February 2018, officers from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and the six Police Land Divisions conducted simultaneous raids at multiple locations in Singapore, resulting in the arrests of 74 men and 32 women. Preliminary investigations revealed that 15 suspects are believed to be runners who had carried out Automated Teller Machine (ATM) transactions on behalf of loansharks and procured ATM cards for syndicates’ usage. Another five suspects are believed to have registered mobile lines for the loansharks, while two suspects are believed to have carried out acts of loanshark harassment by splashing paint and scrawling loanshark-related graffiti on walls. One suspect is believed to have provided false contact information for the purpose of obtaining a loan.
The remaining 83 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.
In a separate operation conducted on 28 February 2018, officers from CID conducted raids at various locations islandwide, resulting in the arrests of 13 men and two women. During the operation, cash amounting to about $106,000/- and other items including mobile phones, ATM cards and Internet banking dongles were seized as case exhibits. Preliminary investigations revealed that the suspects are believed to be members with various roles in a loansharking syndicate.
Nine men and two women, aged between 27 and 60, will be charged in Court on 2 March 2018 for offences under the Moneylenders Act (Revised Edition 2010). Investigations against the remaining 110 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 in carrying on the business of unlicensed moneylending.
First-time offenders found guilty of carrying on a 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 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 five years, a fine of between $5,000 and $50,000, and shall also be liable to caning of between three and six strokes.
Members of the 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.
The Police will 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.
Source: Singapore Police Force