Singapore arrests money mules
Superintendent Ho Yenn Dar (L), assistant director of media relations of Singapore Police Force listens to questions from journalists on the international match-fixing scam at the Ministry of Home Affairs in Singapore February 6, 2013. Reuters

Overall crime rate in Singapore increased by 4 percent in 2015, the national police forces' annual crime brief report said.

While there were 32,315 registered cases in 2014 this number rose to 33,608 cases in 2015. The increase is largely due to a spurt in online commercial crimes such as cheating involving E-Commerce, credit-for-sex and internet love scam, the report said.

The number of criminal cases in this category rose from 1,929 cases in 2014 to 3,759 cases in 2015.

Almost all other crime classes registered a decrease compared to 2014. The report shows crimes against persons, violent/serious property crimes, housebreaking and related crimes recorded a decrease.

Commercial crimes increased by 2,642, or 46.5 percent, cases in 2015 to 8,329 cases, compared to 5,687 cases in 2014, according to the report.

There was an increase in the number of credit-for-sex scams and the money involved in this crime. There was an increase of 1,137 cases from 66 cases in 2014 to 1,203 cases in 2015.

The total sum cheated was approximately $2.9 million, with the largest amount at approximately $74,000.

The Singapore Police Force said it will intensify its public education efforts to raise awareness on the evolving modus operandi of online scammers.

"As online fraud transcends national boundaries, the Police have been working closely with foreign law enforcement agencies to take action against overseas syndicates," said David Chew, Director, Commercial Affairs Department.

"Similarly, the Police will also investigate and prosecute local residents who are found to be either perpetrating an online scam or facilitating foreign syndicates in their criminal activities. Singaporeans should also take steps to protect themselves against online crimes. The Police will continue with our public education and outreach efforts to create awareness on the evolving scam tactics," he said.