107 people arrested in police operation against loan shark activities

SINGAPORE - A total of 107 people were arrested for their suspected involvement in loan shark activities after a three-day operation, police said on Thursday (Sept 27).

In a statement, the police said that 71 men and 36 women were arrested in the operation, which was conducted from Monday to Wednesday.

The arrested suspects are aged between 16 and 72.

Officers from the Criminal Investigation Department and six police land divisions conducted simultaneous raids at multiple locations islandwide, resulting in the arrests.

Preliminary investigations found that two suspects are believed to have carried out acts of loan shark harassment by splashing paint and scrawling loan shark-related graffiti on walls.

Twenty-three suspects are believed to be runners who carried out automated teller machine (ATM) transfers on behalf of loan sharks.

The remaining 82 suspects are believed to have opened bank accounts and given away their ATM cards and personal identification numbers to loan sharks, in order to facilitate their unlicensed moneylending business.

Investigations are ongoing.

If convicted of carrying on a business of unlicensed moneylending or assisting in the business of unlicensed moneylending, first-time offenders can be fined up to $300,000, jailed for up to four years and get six strokes of the cane.

First-time offenders found guilty of acting on behalf of an unlicensed moneylender, committing or attempting to commit any acts of harassment can be jailed for up to five years, fined up to $50,000 and get between three and six strokes of the cane.

The police said they will continue to take tough enforcement action against those involved in the loan shark business. This includes taking action against people who open or give away their bank accounts to aid unlicensed moneylenders.

Loan sharks are increasingly sending unsolicited loan advertisements via text messages or online platforms, police added.

Members of the public are reminded not to reply or respond to these advertisements, and to report the numbers as spam.