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125 people suspected to be involved in loansharking activities arrested

SINGAPORE — The police have arrested 125 suspects allegedly involved in loansharking activities during a three-day operation that ended on Wednesday (Feb 24).

125 people suspected to be involved in loansharking activities arrested

TODAY file photo

SINGAPORE — The police have arrested 125 suspects allegedly involved in loansharking activities during a three-day operation that ended on Wednesday (Feb 24).

The suspects, 96 men and 29 women aged between 17 and 73, were arrested in simultaneous raids at multiple locations in Singapore.

The police said in a press release on Thursday that preliminary investigations found that five suspects are believed to be runners who had assisted loansharks by carrying out Automated Teller Machine (ATM) transfers.

Eight others suspects are believed to be loanshark-harassers who had splashed paint and scrawled loanshark-related graffiti on walls.

Three of the people arrested are suspected to have provided false contact information when obtaining loans from loansharks. They will be questioned for failing to report a change of address.

The remaining 109 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.

Investigations against all the suspects are ongoing.

Under the Moneylenders’ Act (revised edition 2010), when a bank account or ATM card of a person is used to facilitate moneylending by an unlicensed moneylender, that person is presumed to have assisted in carrying on the business of unlicensed moneylending.

First-time offenders found guilty of assisting in the business of unlicensed moneylending may be fined between S$30,000 and S$300,000, jailed up to four years and shall also be liable to be punished with caning of up to six strokes.

First-time offenders found guilty of acting on behalf of an unlicensed moneylender, committing or attempting to commit any acts of harassment shall be jailed up to five years, fined between S$5,000 and S$50,000, and shall also be liable to caning of between three and six strokes.

Any person who is guilty of providing false contact information to obtain loans from loansharks shall be liable upon conviction to jail of up to 12 months. Under the National Registration Act, any person who is guilty of an offence of failing to report a change of address shall be liable on conviction to a fine of up to S$5,000, or jail of up to five years, or both.

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