S'pore police investigating 275 suspects over scams which saw victims lose $7.9m

The suspects are linked to 519 separate cases. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - In a two-week long operation this month, the police hauled in 275 suspects believed to be involved in a variety of scams which saw victims fleeced of around $7.9 million.

In a statement on Saturday (May 22), the police said 159 men and 116 women, aged between 14 and 81, are being questioned for their suspected involvement as scammers or money mules.

The operation between May 8 and May 21 involved officers from the Commercial Affairs Department and seven police land divisions.

The suspects are linked to 519 separate cases.

The ruses involved scammers impersonating Singapore government officials and, separately, China officials. They also included scams involving investments, jobs, sexual services, fake gambling platforms and loans.

The police said that the suspects are being investigated for cheating, money laundering or providing payment services without a licence.

Cheating carries a jail term of up to 10 years and a fine, while money laundering carries an imprisonment term not exceeding 10 years, a fine not exceeding $500,000, or both.

The offence of carrying on a business of providing any type of payment service in Singapore without a licence carries a fine not exceeding $125,000, imprisonment not exceeding three years, or both.

"The police takes a serious stance against any person who may be involved in scams, and perpetrators will be dealt with in accordance with the law," said the police in their statement.

To avoid being an accomplice to crimes, the police said members of the public should always reject requests by others to use their bank account or mobile lines, as they will be held accountable if these are linked to crimes.

Anyone with information on such scams may call the police hotline on 1800-255-0000 or submit information online.

All information will be kept strictly confidential.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.