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In a three day operation between Dec 18 and Dec 20, police arrested 73 men and 22 women for their suspected involvement in loansharking activities.
The men and women were aged between 17 and 66 years old.
During the island-wide operation, officers from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and the six Police land divisions conducted simultaneous raids at multiple locations in Singapore, resulting in the arrests.
Preliminary investigations revealed that nine suspects are believed to be runners who had carried out ATM transfers on behalf of loansharks and procured ATM cards for the syndicates’ usage.
Another six suspects are believed to have carried out acts of loanshark harassment by splashing paint and scrawling loanshark-related graffiti on walls, while one suspect is believed to be operating as an unlicensed moneylender.
As for the remaining 79 suspects, they are believed to have opened bank accounts and given away their ATM cards and PIN numbers to loansharks to facilitate their unlicensed moneylending businesses. Investigations against all the suspects are ongoing.
Under the Moneylonders' Act, a person is presumed to have assisted in loanshark activities if their bank account or ATM card is found to have been used to facilitate unlicensed moneylending.
First-time offenders who are guilty of carrying out or assisting with loanshark activities may be fined between S$30,000 and S$300,000, jailed for up to four years and caned up to six strokes.
First-time offenders found guilty of acting on behalf of a loanshark or committing acts of harassment will face a fine of between S$5,000 and S$50,000, a jail term of up to five years and between three and six strokes of the cane.
Anyone found guilty of providing false information to obtain loans from loansharks will face a jail term of up to 12 months.
Failure to report a change of address will be fined up to S$5,000 and/or jailed up to five years, under the National Registration Act.
The police advise members of the public to stay away from loansharks and not to work with or assist the loansharks in any way. 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.