Singapore police arrest 95 'loan sharks' in countrywide raids

The people were arrested for giving false contacts and facilitating the illegal moneylending activities.

Picture for representation
Picture for representation Reuters

Singapore police arrested 95 people for being involved in illegal financial activities during simultaneous raids across the country. Among the detainees, 65 were men and 30 women, said officers on Wednesday.

Loan sharks are people or organisations which involve in illegal moneylending activities with extremely high-interest rates and often resort to blackmail or threats of violence if terms and conditions are not followed.

According to Channel News Asia, one suspect gave false contact details at the time of obtaining loans from loansharks. Moreover, six of them were "runners" who helped loansharks by carrying out fund transfers via ATMs. They also collected debts in person for the moneylenders. Another two detainees painted loanshark-related graffiti on walls. The other 86 suspects, with open bank accounts, gave their ATM cards and PINs to these lenders to facilitate the illegal businesses.

Police also urged the public to be aware of loan sharks and avoid working to helping them by any means. "The public can call the police at 999 or the X-Ah Long hotline at 1800-924-5664 if they suspect or know of anyone who could be involved in illegal loansharking activities," said police as reported.

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A person is believed to have assisted in illegal moneylending business when a bank account or ATM card is used by any unauthorised lender, according to the Moneylenders' Act.

According to Singapore Penal Code, the convict, if arrested for the first time, will be jailed for up to four years and fined up to S$300,000. The accused can also be sentenced six strokes of the cane. However, for those who are acting on the behalf of a loan shark can receive a jail sentence up to five years. The convict can also be fined up to S$50,000 and given six strokes of the cane.

Meanwhile, those who are found guilty of providing false contact information to obtain loans from illegal moneylenders will receive jailed sentence for up to 12 months and/or fine up to S$5,000, according to the news website.