Two-day operation against loan sharks yields 16 arrests

Police have arrested 15 men and one woman during a two-day blitz against loan sharks earlier this week, it said in a statement on Wednesday.

Investigations into the 16 suspects, who are said to be involved in two separate cases, are ongoing.

In the first case, 13 men and one woman, aged between 24 and 62, were nabbed on Monday and Tuesday at locations as far apart as Choa Chu Kang and Punggol. Based on preliminary investigations, they are debtors believed to have opened bank accounts and given away their Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards and Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) to loan sharks to facilitate the illegal business.

In the second case, two men, aged 29 and 55, were caught on Tuesday. They are said to have assisted loan shark syndicates in procuring ATM cards from other debtors.

If convicted under the Moneylenders Act, first-time offenders may face a fine of between $30,000 and $300,000, a jail term of up to four years, and are liable for mandatory caning of up to six strokes.

The Commander of Jurong Police Division, Deputy Assistant Commissioner of Police Wilson Lim, said the police are determined to wipe out the loan shark syndicates, and will not hesitate to prosecute anyone who assists them in any way.