99 arrested in 3-day anti-loan sharking operation

The police have arrested 99 people suspected of being involved in loan shark activities during a three-day operation this week.
The police have arrested 99 people suspected of being involved in loan shark activities during a three-day operation this week.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE -The police this week arrested 99 people suspected of being involved in loan shark activities.

The 74 men and 25 women, aged from 17 to 70, were nabbed in an islandwide operation between Monday (Sept 26) and Wednesday.

Simultaneous raids were conducted around Singapore during the three-day operation.

One person is suspected of acts of loan shark harassment. Seven suspects helped the loan sharks in their business by making ATM transfers, and two allegedly provided false contact information when obtaining loans from loan sharks.

The remaining 89 suspects are believed to have opened bank accounts and given their ATM cards and personal identification numbers to loan sharks to facilitate their unlicensed moneylending businesses.

Investigations against all the suspects are ongoing.

First-time offenders found guilty of assisting in the business of unlicensed moneylending may be fined between $30,000 and $300,000 and be jailed for up to four years. They may also be punished with caning of up to six strokes.

Those found guilty of acting on behalf of a loan shark, and committing or attempting to commit any acts of harassment can be jailed up to five years, and fined between $5,000 and $50,000. They can also be caned between three and six strokes.

Those found guilty of providing false contact information to obtain loans from loan sharks can be jailed up to 12 months.

In addition, under the National Registration Act, any person who is guilty of failing to report a change of address can be fined up to $5,000, or jailed up to five years, or both.

Police advised members of the public to stay away from loan sharks and not to work with or assist the loan sharks in any way.

They 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 loan sharking activities.