Crackdown on loanshark syndicate linked to more than 340 harassment cases

Police arrested 14 men and two women for their suspected involvement in loansharking activities in a 12-hour islandwide blitz between Tuesday and Wednesday.

The suspects, aged between 24 and 61 years old, are believed to be part of an illegal moneylending syndicate responsible for more than 340 loanshark harassment cases islandwide, according to preliminary investigations.

The police raids conducted at different locations, including Jurong, Woodlands, Marsiling, Yishun, Hougang, Toa Payoh, Boon Keng, Kallang, Tampines and Pasir Ris, netted mobile phones, Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards, internet banking devices and more than $8,200 in cash. Loansharking-related paraphernalia such as bank transaction slips, notebook and paper records were also seized.

Police said the suspects were involved in siphoning crime proceeds linked to unlicensed moneylending activities out of Singapore, carrying out ATM transfers, distributing flyers promoting illegal loan facilities and giving away their bank accounts to facilitate their unlicensed moneylending business.

Under the Moneylenders Act, anyone found guilty of assisting in the operations of an unlicensed moneylending business may be fined between $30,000 and $300,000 and imprisoned for up to four years.