Tackling loan shark menace requires sharper lookouts, education

THE authorities need to step up neighbourhood patrols and enforcement to clamp down on unlicensed moneylending activities ("Two Jurong East flats set on fire"; last Monday).

It is necessary to protect the safety of innocent families who are also the targets of loan sharks.

More closed-circuit television cameras in lift lobbies and landings can deter loan shark activity and keep crime at bay.

However, residents need to be able to report any suspicious activity, as well as what to do to ensure their safety.

Perhaps the Singapore Police Force could come up with pamphlets to educate residents on the steps to take when they encounter such incidents.

Residents and the police should work together in areas where loan shark activity is rampant, so that incidents which threaten the safety of the public can be stopped.

With more proactive measures and lookouts, the loan sharks can be caught and innocent families would not be affected.

The people need to be educated and made aware that they should never turn to unlicensed moneylenders as a way out of debt because it is a crime to do so.

The authorities should also look into creating more avenues to help debtors find alternative solutions, to prevent them from turning to such means of repaying their debts.

The public should use authorised moneylending avenues or turn to other legal channels for help with their problems.

There should also be greater attempts to increase public awareness that engaging the help of unlicensed moneylenders will bring more trouble than help in the long run.

Darren Chan Keng Leong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 22, 2015, with the headline 'Tackling loan shark menace requires sharper lookouts, education'. Print Edition | Subscribe