Police arrest 17 people for loan shark activities

Some of the suspects are believed to have opened bank accounts and given away their ATM cards to loansharks to facilitate their unlicensed moneylending business.
Some of the suspects are believed to have opened bank accounts and given away their ATM cards to loansharks to facilitate their unlicensed moneylending business. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The police have arrested 13 men and four women for loan shark activities.

The suspects, aged between 24 and 62, were nabbed in an islandwide anti-loan shark operation that took place between Monday and Wednesday, the police said in a press release on Thursday (June 30).

Officers from Jurong Division conducted simultaneous raids at multiple locations in the operation.

Four suspects are believed to be runners who helped loan sharks in their business by carrying out Automated Teller Machine (ATM) transfers, according to preliminary investigations.

Another suspect is believed to have harassed a debtor by sending notes to the person's home in Teck Whye Lane.

The police are also investigating a suspect for providing false contact information when obtaining loans from loan sharks, under the National Registration Act, for failing to report a change in address.

The remaining 11 suspects are believed to have opened bank accounts and given away their ATM cards and Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) to loan sharks to facilitate their unlicensed moneylending business.

Under the Moneylenders Act, first-time offenders found guilty of running a business as an unlicensed moneylender or helping in the business of unlicensed moneylending can be fined up to $300,000. They can also be jailed for up to four years and receive up to six strokes of the cane. 

First-time offenders found guilty of loan shark harassment can be fined up to $50,000, jailed up to five years and receive up to six strokes.

Any person who provides false contact information to obtain loans from loans harks will be jailed up to a year. Under the National Registration Act, any person who fails to report a change of address can be fined up to $5,000 and jailed up to five years.