Police nab 172 for suspected involvement in loansharking activities

Police arrested 172 people for suspected involvement in loansharking activities in an island-wide operation between Tuesday and Friday.

The 110 men and 62 women were aged between 16 and 68. They were nabbed after officers from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and six land divisions conducted simultaneous raids at multiple locations in Singapore.

The police said on Saturday that preliminary investigations showed that 14 suspects were believed to be either harassers or runners who facilitated the loansharks in their businesses by verifying debtors' particulars, getting Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards and carrying out ATM transfers.

One suspect was believed to have provided false contact information when borrowing money from loansharks, which resulted in an innocent resident being harrassed. The suspect will also be investigated for failing to report his change of address.

The remaining suspects are under investigation for opening bank accounts and giving their ATM cards and Personal Identifcation Numbers to loansharks to facilitate their unlicensed moneylending businesses.

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 may also 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 may be fined between $5,000 and $50,000, be jailed for up to five years, and may also face between three and six strokes of the cane.

Anyone convicted of providing false contact information to obtain loans from loansharks may face up to a year in jail.

Anyone convicted of failing to report a change of address may be fined up to $5,000, jailed for up to five years, or both.