10 arrested for fraudulently registering prepaid SIM cards after raids at handphone shops

Simultaneous raids targeting 17 handphone shops were conducted in a nine-hour islandwide operation on Sunday (Jan 16).

Officers from the Commercial Affairs Department conducted the raids at shops in Orchard, Geylang, Serangoon, Pasir Ris, Jurong West, Yishun, Woodlands, Boon Lay, Desker Road, Syed Alwi Road and Rochor Canal Road.

Nine men and one woman, aged between 31 and 56, were arrested for their suspected involvement in fraudulently registering prepaid SIM cards using the particulars of unsuspecting customers or foreigners who have not entered or have left Singapore.

A total of 15 men and nine women, aged between 24 and 68, are assisting with investigations.

"Investigations revealed that these handphone retailers had abused the computer systems holding the registration information for prepaid SIM cards," said the police.

"The retailers would purportedly preregister SIM cards using particulars of others and sell them to customers who wanted to remain anonymous."

An assortment of paraphernalia such as printers, laptops, handphones, invoices, photocopied passports, SIM cards and relevant documents were seized during the operation.

The police added: "Criminals exploit such fraudulently registered prepaid SIM cards as an anonymous channel of communications for unlicensed moneylending, scams, and vice, among other illicit activities.

"For example, scam syndicates have been found to perpetuate their criminal activities by using such prepaid SIM cards to contact victims and amongst themselves to evade possible detection."

Investigations are ongoing.

The offence of unauthorised modification of computer material under Section 5(1) of the Computer Misuse Act 1993 carries a fine not exceeding $10,000 and/or uo to three years in jail.

The police said they will "spare no effort to clamp down on such errant handphone shop dealers who may be indirectly facilitating illegal activities."

Those involved in such illegal activities will be dealt with in accordance with the law.