146 nabbed in anti-loansharking blitz

SINGAPORE - The police have arrested 146 people in a four-day anti-loansharking blitz that ended on Thursday.

A total of 96 men and 50 women, between 19 and 72 years of age, were rounded up.

The 80-hour operation involved simultaneous raids at multiple locations, the police said on Friday.

Nine of them are believed to have acted as loanshark runners carrying out Automated Teller Machine (ATM) transfers or procuring ATM cards for the syndicates' usage.

Another three suspects are suspected to have harassed debtors by splashing paint and scrawling graffiti on walls.

Two more allegedly provided false contact information when obtaining loans from loansharks.

The remaining 132 are believed to have opened bank accounts and given away their ATM cards and Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) to loansharks.

Investigations are ongoing.

Under the Moneylenders' Act, when a person's bank account or ATM card is used to facilitate unlicensed moneylending, that person is presumed to have assisted in the carrying out the business of unlicensed moneylending, and is guilty of an offence.

The police advise members of public to stay away from loansharks. They can call the police 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.