Unlicensed Moneylending

UNLICENSED MONEYLENDING SITUATION IN 2017

Shift in Unlicensed Moneylending (UML) Harassment to Non-Damage and Non-Confrontational Tactics

The total number of UML-related harassment cases registered an increase of 12.3% from 3,3888 in 2016 to 3,806 cases in 2017, after a 10-year low in 2016. However, there was a significant drop of 21.8% in UML-related harassment cases with damage to property, from 1,308 cases in 2016 to 1,023 cases in 2017. The increase in UML-related harassment cases can be attributed to a rise in number of cases without any damage to property, which increased by 33.8%, from 2,080 cases in 2016 to 2,783 cases in 2017. This formed the majority of the UML-related harassment cases reported in 2017.

Police’s relentless enforcement efforts to disrupt the operations of UML syndicates and strong partnerships with the community, coupled with the introduction of more Police cameras in the neighbourhoods have forced the UML harassers to shift to non-damage and non-confrontational tactics. This is evident as UML-related harassment cases with damage to property have continued to decrease since 2012.

However, the proliferation of new communication platforms and high usage of mobile devices have made it easier for UML harassers to conduct their harassment via electronic means as well as target larger groups of people simultaneously. More victims are being harassed via Short Message Service as well as other social media platforms, and harassment notes placed in letterboxes.

Police will continue to work closely with relevant stakeholders such as the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and telecommunications companies to make it harder for UML harassers to conduct these non-damage and non-confrontational harassment tactics.

How to deal with Unsolicited UML messages

Police urge members of public who receive SMSes or “WhatsApp” messages from loansharks:

a) Do not reply or interact with the loanshark;

b) Notify the Police via i-Witness at https://www.police.gov.sg/iwitness;

c) Report the number as “spam” and block the number using readily available spam filter applications.

Licensed moneylenders can only advertise on moneylender’s website and its business premise. Please do not give out personal information, such as NRIC, contact number, and bank details to anyone. Members of the public may also call the National Crime Prevention Council’s X-Ah Long hotline at 1800-924-5664 to report loansharking activities anonymously.

POLICE'S EFFORTS IN COMBATING LOANSHARKING ACTIVITIES

The number of loansharking and harassment cases has been on a steady decline since 2009. At the same time, the number of persons arrested for loansharking and harassment has been on an increase over the last three years. This is testament to Police's relentless commitment in tackling the loansharking situation until the menace is eradicated.

Police take a serious view of loansharking and related harassment cases and will continue efforts to clamp down on all levels of the loanshark syndicates and bring all perpetrators of loansharking activities to justice, regardless of their involvement.

Measures have also been taken at all levels, from to the Police and community, against loansharking and harassment. The strategies is multi-pronged and that of enhancing legislation, strengthening enforcement and collaborating with strategic partners. The amended Moneylenders Act came into effect on 11 February 2010 allowing us to deal with loansharking syndicates as such criminal organisations, so as to target financiers and masterminds, disrupt flow of money and resources and ensure that leaders do not escape the bite of our laws by instructing local operatives from the haven of other countrie s. To target the many layers comprising an organisation, anyone who contributes or facilitates a loansharking operation will not escape the law.

  1. These cases are classified under the Moneylenders Act (Revised Edition 2010).
  2. Cases of loanshark harassment refer to harassment specific cases classified under Section 28 of the Moneylenders Act (Revised Edition 2010). They form part of the overall UML and harassment cases stated in (a) above.
Last Updated on 02 August 2018