In two separate operations, the police have arrested 27 people, aged between 24 and 66, for their suspected involvement in loansharking activities.
According to the Singapore Police Force (SPF), the 13 men and four women - aged between 24 and 62 - were arrested in the first islandwide anti-loansharking operation, which took place between Jun 27 and Jun 29. During the three-day operation, officers from Jurong Division conducted simultaneous raids at multiple locations in Singapore.
Preliminary investigations revealed that four suspects are believed to be runners who had assisted the loansharks in their business by carrying out Automated Teller Machine (ATM) transfers, said the SPF.
One suspect is believed to have had carried out loanshark harassment by sending debtor notes to a unit at Teck Whye Lane, they added.
The police also arrested one suspect who is believed to have provided false contact information when obtaining loans from loansharks. The remaining 11 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 business.
Investigations against all the suspects are ongoing.
If convicted of carrying on or assisting in unlicensed moneylending, first-time offenders may be fined between S$30,000 and S$300,000 and imprisoned for up to four years, as well as up to six strokes of mandatory caning. Individuals guilty of providing false contact information to obtain loans from loansharks will also be liable to jail for up to 12 months.
ANOTHER TEN NABBED IN SIX-HOUR OPERATION
In a separate operation on Jun 29, the police arrested ten people for their suspected involvement in loansharking activities.
The eight men and two women, aged between 24 and 66, were nabbed in the six-hour operation.
Following extensive ground enquiries, officers from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and the Police Intelligence Department (PID) conducted simultaneous raids at multiple locations island-wide, resulting in the arrests.
During the operation, items such as mobile phones, ATM cards, internet banking security devices, SIM cards, bank transaction slips and cash amounting to about S$25,000 were seized.
According to the police, preliminary investigations found that the suspects are believed to be involved in various roles in the loansharking syndicate, including ‘runners’ who had performed ATM transactions for the syndicate.
Five of the suspects, who are men aged between 24 and 40, will be charged in court on Jul 1 with offences under the Moneylenders Act (Revised Edition 2010).
Investigations against the remaining suspects are ongoing.
“Police will persevere with our relentless enforcement efforts against the loansharking menace and we will track down those involved in such criminal acts and bring them to justice,” said Head of the Unlicensed Moneylending Strikeforce of CID, Superintendent of Police Loh Kah Wai.
Members of public are advised to stay away from loansharks and not to work with or assist 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 anyone who could be involved in illegal loansharking activities.