95 arrested in 3-day anti-loansharking operation

95 arrested in 3-day anti-loansharking operation

SINGAPORE: A total of 95 people aged between 17 and 66 were arrested for their suspected involvement in loansharking activities after a three-day islandwide operation conducted by the police from Monday to Thursday (Dec 21 to 23). 

Seventy-three men and 22 women were arrested during simultaneous raids at multiple locations.

Investigations revealed that nine of the suspects are believed to be runners who carried out ATM transfers on behalf of loansharks and procured ATM cards for the syndicates.

Another six suspects are believed to have carried out acts of loanshark harassment by splashing paint and scrawling loanshark-related graffiti on walls.

One more suspect is said to have operated as an unlicensed moneylender.

The remaining 79 suspects reportedly gave out their ATM cards and PIN numbers to loansharks to facilitate their unlicensed moneylending. 

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

Under the Moneylonders' Act, 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 who are 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. 

Anyone 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.

The police advised members of the public to stay away from loansharks and to report any suspected unlicensed moneylending.

Source: CNA/aa