Duo charged over illegal loans to maids

SINGAPORE - Two people were taken to court on Tuesday (May 14) over their alleged links to an unlicensed moneylending business that offered loans to maids.

Singaporean Tan Boon Teck, 60, and Filipina Shirley Cansino Eustaquio, 45, are said to have charged 20 per cent interest on the loans.

The pair each face one charge under the Moneylenders Act.

On July 17 last year, Tan allegedly issued a $500 loan to a woman in Orchard Road.

As for Eustaquio, she is accused of helping Tan to carry out the moneylending business. She allegedly issued a $500 loan to another woman sometime late last year.

In a statement on Monday evening, the police said they received information about the pair last November.

After establishing their identities, officers from the Criminal Investigation Department, as well as Woodlands and Tanglin police divisions, conducted an operation on Sunday, which led to the pair's arrest in Orchard Road.

 
 

Cash, two mobile phones and records of unlicensed moneylending activities were seized.

"The police have observed that more foreign workers, including foreign domestic workers, are increasingly borrowing money from unlicensed moneylenders.

"In some instances, these foreign workers would assist the unlicensed moneylenders in their illegal activities or be running the operation themselves," said a police spokesman.

The men in blue have since engaged other organisations - such as the Ministry of Manpower, the Centre for Domestic Employees and the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training - to educate foreign workers against taking loans from unlicensed moneylenders.

"The police will continue to work closely with the relevant stakeholders to intensify our efforts to reach out to foreign workers to warn them on the severe consequences of getting involved in unlicensed moneylending activities," added the spokesman.

Tan is now remanded at Central Police Division and will be back in court on May 21.

Eustaquio was offered bail of $15,000, and her case has been adjourned to June 4.

Offenders convicted of carrying on or assisting in an unlicensed moneylending business can be jailed for up to four years and fined between $30,000 and $300,000.

Men under the age of 50 can also receive up to six strokes of the cane.