SINGAPORE - Police have arrested 116 suspects, including teenagers and senior citizens, for loanshark activities in an islandwide operation over the past five days.
The 86 men and 30 women, who are aged between 13 and 79, were arrested during simultaneous raids at multiple locations from Monday, police said in a statement.
Eight of the suspects are believed to be runners who had assisted loansharks by carrying out ATM transfers.
Another five are thought to have harassed debtors by splashing paint and scrawling graffiti on walls.
One suspect will be investigated under the National Registration Act for failing to report a change of address. The suspect is thought to have supplied false contact information to obtain loans from unlicensed moneylenders.
The remaining 102 were arrested for opening bank accounts and giving away their ATM cards and Personal Identification Numbers to loansharks, who used these for their businesses.
First-time offenders found guilty of assisting in unlicensed moneylending could be fined between $30,000 and $300,000, jailed up to four years, and caned up to six strokes.
For committing or attempting to commit harassment on behalf of loansharks, first-time offenders could be jailed up to five years, fined between $5,000 and $50,000, and receive between three and six strokes of the cane.
In a statement, police advised members of the public to stay away from loansharks and not assist them in any way.
They can call the police at '999' or the X-Ah Long hotline at 1800-924-5664 if they suspect anyone of being involved in illegal loansharking activities.