SINGAPORE: The police are investigating more than a hundred people after two separate operations, targeting loan-sharking activities as well as scams, this week.
In a news release on Friday (Aug 31), the police said they arrested 64 men and 32 women, aged between 21 and 72, for their suspected involvement in loan-sharking activities in a three-day operation from Monday to Wednesday.
The operation involved officers from the Criminal Investigation Department and the six police land divisions conducting simultaneous raids at multiple locations islandwide, police said.
Authorities are also investigating 13 men and five women, aged between 17 and 67, after a two-day operation against scammers and money mules.
SUSPECTS BELIEVED TO HAVE OPENED BANK ACCOUNTS FOR LOAN SHARKS
Of those suspected of loan-sharking activities, 16 are believed to be runners who had carried out automated teller machine (ATM) transfers on behalf of loan sharks, and two other suspects are believed to have provided false contact information for purpose of obtaining loans. Another suspect is believed to have assisted the loan sharks in issuing loans, police said.
The remaining 77 suspects are believed to have opened bank accounts and given away their ATM cards and personal identification numbers to loan sharks to facilitate their unlicensed moneylending businesses. Investigations against all the suspects are ongoing.
Anyone who allows their bank account or ATM card to be used to facilitate unlicensed moneylending is presumed to have assisted in the business, the police said. First-time offenders may be jailed for up to four years, fined between S$30,000 and S$300,000, and caned.
First-time offenders found guilty of acting on behalf of an unlicensed moneylender, committing or attempting to commit any acts of harassment may be jailed for up to five years, fined and caned.
In addition, any person guilty of providing false contact information to obtain loans from loan sharks faces up to 12 months in jail, while anyone who fails to report a change of address may be jailed for up to five years and fined.
VICTIMS OF SUSPECTED SCAMMERS LOST MORE THAN S$100,000
The police said the 18 suspects identified in the operation against scammers and money mules are believed to be involved in 72 cases where victims have lost a total of more than S$103,180.
These cases include e-commerce and loan scams that were reported in Sengkang, Hougang and Yishun.
The suspects, currently assisting in investigations, face up to 10 years in jail and a fine if found guilty of cheating or money laundering.