SINGAPORE: Ninety-five people suspected of being involved in loanshark activities were arrested in a three-day operation across Singapore.
In a media release on Thursday (Jan 26), police said the 65 men and 30 women were arrested in simultaneous raids in the operation which ended on Wednesday.
One suspect is believed to have provided false contact information when obtaining loans from loansharks, while six of them are believed to be "runners" who helped loansharks by carrying out fund transfers via ATMs, as well as by collecting debts in person.
Another two suspects are believed to have splashed paint and scrawled loanshark-related graffiti on walls.
The remaining 86 suspects are believed to have opened bank accounts and given their ATM cards and PINs to loansharks to facilitate their unlicensed moneylending businesses.
Investigations against all suspects are ongoing, police said.
According to the Moneylenders' Act, a person is presumed to have assisted in the business of unlicensed moneylending when a bank account or ATM card of any person is used to facilitate moneylending by an unlicensed lender.
If convicted, first-time offenders may be fined between S$30,000 and S$300,000, jailed for up to four years, and/or face up to six strokes of the cane.
Those found guilty of acting on the behalf of an unlicensed moneylender, committing or attempting to commit any acts of harassment for the first time could be jailed for up to five years, fined between S$5,000 and S$50,000, and and/or face between three and six strokes of the cane.
Those found guilty of providing false contact information to obtain loans from loansharks could be jailed for up to 12 months. Those convicted of failing to report a change of address could be fined up to S$5,000, jailed for up to five years, or both.
The police also advised members of the public to stay away from loansharks, and not work with them or help them in any way.
"The public can call the police at 999 or the X-Ah Long hotline at 1800-924-5664 if they suspect or know of anyone who could be involved in illegal loansharking activities," police said.