Man arrested for suspected illegal moneylending to foreigners

Man arrested for suspected illegal moneylending to foreigners

He issued loans to foreign domestic helpers and workers with a 20 per cent monthly interest.

Moneylending case exhibit
Cash amounting to about S$3,000, an ATM card and a DBS Internet banking token were seized by the police on Sunday (Sep 3). (Photo: SPF)

SINGAPORE: A 31-year-old man has been arrested for alleged unlicensed moneylending to foreign workers, police said on Monday (Sep 4).

Preliminary investigations showed the suspect, an Indian national, had issued loans amounting to about S$26,000 to more than 30 maids and foreign workers with a 20 per cent monthly interest, police said in a news release. 

Authorities received information about the man's activities in the Tanjong Katong area in August, said SPF. After he was identified, the suspect was arrested at a shopping centre along Paya Lebar Road on Sunday. 

Items including nearly S$3,000 in cash, an ATM card, a DBS Internet banking token and a mobile phone were seized, police said.

If found guilty, the suspect may be fined from S$30,000 to S$300,000, jailed up to four years and be given up to six strokes of the cane. 

"The police have observed that foreign workers, including foreign domestic helpers, are borrowing money from unlicensed moneylenders due to various reasons, such as being in financial difficulty or to help their friends settle debts with other unlicensed moneylenders," said police. 

The foreign workers are usually referred to these moneylenders through friends or SMS advertising illegal loans, it said, urging the former to stay away from and not work with loansharks.

Foreign workers involved in such activities will be "dealt with firmly under our laws and will have their work passes revoked", police added. 

Members of the public who suspect someone of being involved with loansharks may call the X-Ah Long hotline at 1800-924-5664.

Source: CNA/hs