Police arrest 12 individuals suspected of working for loanshark syndicate

The Police in an islandwide operation over two days, arrested 12 individuals for suspected involvement in unlicensed money-lending activities.

The suspects comprise 11 men and one woman aged between 23 and 54 years. The police also seized $10,200 and an assortment of loanshark-related items such as ATM cards and bank books following the five-hour operation on June 4 and 5.

The suspects are believed to have assisted a loanshark syndicate by delivering illegal proceeds across the border to Malaysia, conducting ATM transactions, collecting loan repayments and advertising loan facilities by distributing flyers and sending out mass SMSes.

Nine of the suspects will be charged under the Moneylenders Act, while investigations against the remaining three suspects are ongoing. Under the Act, anyone found guilty of operating or assisting in the operating of a loanshark business may be fined up to $300,000 or caned up to six strokes. A jail term of up to four years is mandatory.