SINGAPORE - A total of 247 people have been arrested for alleged involvement in loansharking and illegal betting activities.
Of these, 160 male and 77 female suspects, aged between 13 and 77, were caught for loanshark-related offences in an operation between July 20 and 30, the police said on Tuesday (Aug 4).
Preliminary investigations showed 51 of the suspects were runners who allegedly assisted the loansharks by carrying out ATM transfers. Another 12 suspects were believed to have carried out acts of harassment by splashing paint and scrawling loanshark-related graffiti on walls.
The remaining 174 suspects were said to have opened bank accounts and given their ATM cards and personal identification numbers to loansharks to facilitate their unlicensed moneylending business.
During the 11-day operation, officers from the Criminal Investigation Department and the seven police land divisions conducted simultaneous raids at multiple locations across the island.
In a separate case, a 44-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday for his suspected involvement in loanshark harassment, the police said.
They were alerted to the incident in Teban Gardens Road, where a debtor's note had been left on the door of a place of residence.
Officers from the Clementi Police Division established the identity of the man through ground enquiries and images from police cameras, and arrested him .
Preliminary investigation found he may be involved in several other cases of loanshark harassment islandwide.
Under the Moneylenders Act, first-time offenders guilty of assisting in unlicensed moneylending business may be fined between $30,000 and $300,000, jailed for up to four years and may be caned up to six strokes.
First-time offenders guilty of acting on behalf of an unlicensed moneylender, and committing or attempting to commit any acts of harassment can be jailed for up to five years, fined between $5,000 and $50,000, and are liable for caning with three to six strokes.
First time offenders guilty of loanshark harassment can be fined between $5,000 and $50,000, jailed up to 5 years and may earn up to six strokes of cane.
The police said they will take tough enforcement action against those involved in loansharking activities, regardless of their roles, and deal with them severely in accordance with the law.
Meanwhile, the police also arrested eight men and one women, aged between 38 and 77, for offences under the Betting Act.
Cash amounting to more than $18,000 and gambling paraphernalia were seized during the operation.
The arrests were made during an enforcement operation conducted by Clementi Police Division along Depot Lane on Sunday.
Investigations against the nine individuals are ongoing.
Under the Betting Act, offenders can be fined between $20,000 and $200,000 and jailed for up to five years.