Singapore: 95 arrested by police in 3-day islandwide anti-loanshark operation

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Singapore police arrested 95 people for their suspected involvement in loansharking activities after a three-day islandwide operation between Monday and Wednesday. The authorities said on Thursday that the suspects, include 63 men and 32 women aged between 20 and 65.

In a press release, the police said that the preliminary investigations have revealed that 12 suspects are believed to be runners who had carried out ATM transfers on behalf of loansharks. Three other suspects were said to have carried out acts of harassment by splashing paint and scrawling loanshark-related graffiti on walls.

The authorities believe that two other suspects have provided false contact information for the purpose of obtaining loans.

Meanwhile, the remaining 78 suspects allegedly opened bank accounts, and gave out their ATM cards and PIN numbers to loansharks to facilitate their unlicensed moneylending.

The police said that the investigations against all the suspects are still going on.

Under the Moneylenders' Act, if a person's bank account or ATM card is found to have been used to facilitate unlicensed moneylending then he is presumed to have assisted in loanshark activities. If convicted of assisting with loanshark activities for the first time, the suspect may be jailed for up to four years, caned up to six strokes and fined between S$30,000 and S$300,000.

If first-time offenders are found guilty of acting on behalf of a loanshark, or committing or attempting to commit acts of harassment, then they may be jailed up to five years, caned beween three and six strokes and fined between S$5,000 and S$50,000.

The police added that if anyone if found guilty of providing false information to obtain loans from loansharks then he may face a jail term of up to 12 months.

Anyone found guilty of failing to report a change of address may be fined up to S$5,000 and/or jailed up to five years.

Members of the public have been advised by the police to stay away from loansharks and to report any suspected unlicensed moneylending.

This article was first published on January 25, 2018