111 suspects nabbed in 4-day islandwide anti-loanshark operation

111 suspects nabbed in 4-day islandwide anti-loanshark operation

handcuffs file photo
A person in handcuffs. (File photo: Reuters)

SINGAPORE: Eighty men and 31 women aged between 21 and 84 have been arrested for their suspected involvement in loansharking activities.

According to a police news release on Saturday (Nov 25), the suspects were arrested during an islandwide operation from Monday to Thursday (Nov 20 to 23).

Preliminary investigations showed that nine suspects are believed to be runners who carried out ATM transfers on behalf of loansharks and procured ATM cards for the syndicates' usage. 

Another two suspects are said to have carried out acts of harassment by splashing paint and vandalising walls with loanshark-related graffiti. 

One other suspect allegedly provided false contact information for the purpose of obtaining loans. 

The remaining 99 suspects are said to have opened bank accounts and given away their ATM cards and PIN numbers to loansharks to facilitate the unlicensed moneylending businesses.

Investigations against all the suspects are ongoing, said the police.

A person is presumed to have assisted in loanshark activities if their bank account or ATM card is found to have been used to facilitate unlicensed moneylending. 

First-time offenders found guilty of carrying out or assisting with loanshark activities may be fined between S$30,000 and S$300,000, jailed for up to four years and caned up to six strokes.

First time offenders found guilty of acting on behalf of a loanshark or committing acts of harassment will face a fine of between S$5,000 and S$50,000, a jail term of up to five years and between three and six strokes of the cane. 

Any person found guilty of providing false information to obtain loans from loansharks will face a jail term of up to 12 months. 

Finally, anyone found guilty of failing to report a change of address will be fined up to S$5,000 and/or jailed up to five years.

Source: CNA/aa