SINGAPORE - The police are investigating 343 alleged scammers and money mules who cheated victims of close to $6.1 million.
They are believed to be involved in more than 857 cases, including Internet love, e-commerce, impersonation, investment, job and loan scams, the police said on Friday (July 22).
A 14-year-old is among the suspects, who comprise 236 men and 107 women aged between 14 and 78.
Officers from the Commercial Affairs Department and seven police land divisions conducted a two-week islandwide enforcement operation from July 8 to 21.
The suspects are being probed for alleged offences of cheating, money laundering or providing payment services without a licence.
The offence of cheating carries a jail term of up to 10 years and a fine.
Those convicted of money laundering can be jailed for up to 10 years, fined up to $500,000, or both.
The offence of running a business of providing any type of payment service in Singapore without a licence carries a fine not exceeding $125,000, a jail term not exceeding three years, or both.
Last year, Singapore saw at least $633 million stolen in scams, which was almost 2½ times the $268.4 million lost in 2020.
The police have said at least 90 per cent of scams here originate from overseas, with scammers who are syndicated, well resourced and technologically sophisticated.
Earlier this week, Australia and Singapore's media authorities signed an agreement to tackle the global impact of scams, with a focus on mutual assistance in investigations relating to scam and spam calls, and SMSes.
The agreement also aims to facilitate collaboration on solutions to scam and spam communications, as well as the mutual exchange of knowledge and expertise.