S'porean man and Filipino woman arrested for alleged illegal moneylending to foreign maids

SINGAPORE - A Singaporean man and a Filipino woman have been arrested for allegedly carrying on a business of unlicensed moneylending, said the police in a statement on Monday (May 13).

Police said that they received information in November last year that the man, 60, and the woman, 45, were believed to be involved in unlicensed moneylending and had issued loans to foreign domestic workers.

After identifying the suspects, officers from the Criminal Investigation Department, Woodlands Police Division and Tanglin Police Division arrested the duo in the Orchard Road area during an operation on Sunday.

Two mobile phones, records of unlicensed moneylending activities and cash were also seized, said the police.

The pair are expected to be charged in court under the Moneylenders Act.

Under the act, anyone convicted of carrying on or assisting in a business of unlicensed moneylending may be fined a minimum of $30,000 and a maximum of $300,000, jailed for up to four years, and may also be caned up to six strokes.

Foreign workers, including foreign domestic workers, who have assisted or borrowed money from unlicensed moneylenders may also be repatriated and barred from working in Singapore.

The police added that they have observed more foreign workers 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 the police.

Relevant ministries and agencies, such as the Ministry of Manpower, Centre for Domestic Employee and Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training, have been engaged to educate foreign workers against borrowing from unlicensed moneylenders.

The police said they will continue to work closely with stakeholders to intensify their outreach efforts to warn foreign workers about the severe consequences of getting involved in unlicensed moneylending activities.

Police also urged employers of foreign workers to remind them to stay away from unlicensed moneylenders and not work with or assist the unlicensed moneylenders in any way.

The public can alert the police by dialing 999 or call the X-Ah Long hotline at 1800-924-5664 if they suspect or know of anyone who could be involved in unlicensed moneylending activities.