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The police have arrested 92 people for their involvement in loan-sharking activities, they said in a news release on Jul 27.
Sixty-six men and 26 women aged between 17 and 77 were taken into custody in a three-day islandwide operation by officers from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) that ended on Jul 26.
Thirteen of the suspects are believed to be runners who carried out Automated Teller Machine (ATM) transactions on behalf of loansharks while three of them had provided false contact information for the purpose of obtaining loans.
Another three are believed to have carried out acts of loanshark harassment like splashing paint and scrawling loanshark-related graffiti on walls.
The remaining 73 suspects are believed to have opened bank accounts and given away their ATM cards and Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) to loansharks to facilitate their unlicensed moneylending businesses.
Under the Moneylenders' Act, a person is presumed to have assisted in loan-sharking activities when his bank account or ATM card is used to facilitate unlicensed moneylending.
First-time offenders found guilty of assisting in the business of unlicensed moneylending may be fined between $30,000 and $300,000, be imprisoned up to four years and also be liable to be punished with six strokes of the cane.
First-time offenders found guilty of carrying on a business of unlicensed moneylending may be fined between $30,000 and $300,000, be imprisoned for a term of up to four years and be liable to up to six strokes of the cane.
"Members of the public are advised to stay away from loan sharks and not to work with or assist them in any way," the police added.
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 loan-sharking activities.