The Police are investigating 200 persons, aged between 14 and 68 years old, for their suspected involvement in loansharking activities.
During a two-week anti-loansharking operation conducted between 26 April and 9 May 2021, officers from the Criminal Investigation Department and the seven Police land divisions conducted simultaneous raids island-wide.
Eighteen suspects had allegedly conducted harassment at debtors’ residences; 21 suspects are believed to be runners who had assisted the loansharks in their businesses by carrying out Automated Teller Machine (ATM) transfers; and one suspect is believed to have provided false contact information leading to harassment being carried out against an innocent victim’s residence.
The remaining 160 suspects have purportedly opened bank accounts and provided their ATM cards, Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) 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 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 ensure that they 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 using text messaging or online platforms to send unsolicited loan advertisements. Members of the public are reminded not to reply or respond to such advertisements and report these messages as spam. Members of the public are also 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.
SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
12 May 2021 @ 9:50 PM