106 arrested in anti-loan shark blitz

The Singapore Police Force has arrested 106 people for their suspected involvement in loan shark activities.
The Singapore Police Force has arrested 106 people for their suspected involvement in loan shark activities.ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - In an enforcement blitz, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) has arrested 68 men and 38 women, aged between 17 and 83, for their suspected involvement in loan shark activities, it said in a media release on Wednesday (May 31).

During the three-day operation which ended on Wednesday, officers from the Criminal Investigation Department and all six Police land divisions conducted simultaneous raids at multiple locations.

Citing preliminary investigations, the SPF said that nine individuals were believed to have carried out acts of loan shark harassment by splashing paint and scrawling loan shark-related graffiti on walls.

Four others were believed to be runners who had assisted the loan sharks by carrying out ATM transfers and collecting debts.

Another suspect is believed to have provided false contact information for purpose of obtaining a loan.

The remaining 92 suspects are believed to have opened bank accounts and given away their ATM cards and PINs to loansharks to facilitate their unlicensed moneylending businesses.

Investigations against the 106 are ongoing.

The SPF added that under the Moneylenders' Act, when a bank account or ATM card is used to facilitate unlicensed moneylending, the account or ATM cardholder is presumed to have assisted in sustaining the unlicensed moneylending business.

First-time offenders found guilty of running an unlicensed moneylending operation may be jailed for up to four years, fined between $30,000 and $300,000 and receive up to six strokes of the cane.

First-time offenders found guilty of assisting such operations are also liable to receive the same punishments, while those found guilty of acting on behalf of an unlicensed moneylender, committing or attempting to commit any acts of harassment can be punished with up to five years of jail, a fine of between $5,000 and $50,000 and between three and six strokes of the cane.