Four arrested for suspected involvement in loansharking activities

SINGAPORE - Police have arrested four suspects, aged between 17 and 43, for their alleged involvement in loansharking activities in three separate cases.

In the latest case, two 17-year-old male suspects were arrested in Jurong West on Wednesday at 5am.

Police had received a report on Nov 7 that a housing block unit in McNair Road had been splashed with paint and chained with a bicycle lock. Loanshark-related graffiti was also found in the vicinity. After investigations and with the help of CCTV images from police cameras, officers tracked down and nabbed the suspects. Several handphones, black marker pens, masks and cans of spray paint were also seized upon their arrest.

Preliminary investigations showed the duo are involved in at least 20 cases of splashing paint on debtors' units and scrawling loanshark-related graffiti island-wide.

In an earlier case, a 43-year-old woman was arrested at Segar Road in Bukit Panjang on Tuesday at noon, following investigations. The suspect was a former debtor who helped loanshark syndicates carry out banking transactions related to unlicensed moneylending businesses. Police also recovered one Automated Teller Machine (ATM) card and one handphone.

The police also arrested a 25-year-old man on Tuesday night at around 10.15pm in Bukit Batok Central. The suspect is another debtor-turned-runner, who helped loanshark syndicates procure ATM cards with Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) from other debtors and used them to perform illegal transactions. Upon his arrest, seven ATM cards, one handphone and cash amounting to $800 were seized.

First-time offenders found guilty of loanshark harassment may be jailed up to five years, fined between $5,000 and $50,000, and caned between three and six strokes.

Those found guilty of carrying on or assisting in the business as an unlicensed moneylender may be jailed up to four years, fined between $30,000 and $300,000, and caned up to six strokes.