Police arrest 104 suspects in three-day blitz on loan sharks

The 81 men and 23 women are suspected to be involved in loan sharking activities.
The 81 men and 23 women are suspected to be involved in loan sharking activities. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Police have arrested 104 suspects, aged between 18 and 72, in an islandwide blitz against loan sharking that took place between Monday (May 30) and Wednesday.

The 81 men and 23 women are suspected to be involved in loan sharking activities, police said in a news release on Thursday (June 2).

During the three-day operation, officers from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and six police divisions simultaneously raided multiple locations across Singapore to apprehend the suspects.

Preliminary investigations revealed that four suspects are believed to be runners who had assisted the loan sharks in their businesses by carrying out ATM transfers or procuring ATM cards for the syndicates' usage.

Three suspects are believed to be harassers who had carried out acts of loan shark-harassment, such as splashing paint and scrawling loan shark-related graffiti on walls.

Another suspect is believed to have provided false contact information when obtaining loans from loan sharks. Investigations under the National Registration Act will be carried out against the individual for failing to report a change of address, police said.

The remaining 96 suspects are believed to have opened bank accounts and given away their ATM cards and PIN numbers to loan sharks to facilitate their unlicensed moneylending businesses.

Investigations against all the suspects are ongoing.

Police said it will continue to take tough enforcement action against those involved in the loan sharking business, regardless of their roles, and they will face the full brunt of the law. This includes those who open or give away their bank accounts to aid unlicensed moneylenders.

Members of the public can call the Police at 999 or the X-Ah Long hotline on 1800-924-5664 if they suspect or know of anyone who could be involved in illegal loan sharking activities.

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

First-time offenders found guilty of acting on behalf of an unlicensed moneylender, committing or attempting to commit any acts of harassment shall be imprisoned for up to five years, fined between $5,000 and $50,000, and receive between three and six strokes of the cane.

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