Asia

129 arrested for loan-shark activities in 3-day blitz

SINGAPORE – A total of 129 people, aged between 17 and 82, were arrested for their suspected involvement in loansharking activities during an operation from last Monday (July 8) to Wednesday.

Raids were conducted simultaneously at multiple locations islandwide by officers from the Criminal Investigation Department and Police Land Divisions, resulting in 94 men and 35 women being arrested.

Preliminary investigations have revealed that out of the 129 arrested, 28 suspects were alleged runners who carried out ATM transfers on behalf of the loan sharks. Another four were believed to have been involved in loan-shark harassment such as paint splashing and graffiti-related activities. Another two were believed to have carried out unlicensed moneylending and one is said to have provided false contact information to obtain loans.

The remaining 94 were suspected to have opened bank accounts and given away their ATM cards and personal identification numbers to loan sharks. Investigations are still ongoing.

If convicted, they could face a hefty fine, jail term and even caning.

First-time offenders found guilty of carrying on or assisting in a business of unlicensed moneylending could be fined between $30,000 and $300,000 and jailed up to four years. They could also be caned between three and six strokes.

Members of the public should not respond to any loan advertisements via text messages or on online platforms. They can report these numbers as spam and call the police at 999 or the X-Ah Long hotline at 1800-924-5664 if they suspect or know of anyone involved in illegal loan-sharking activities.

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