5 arrested in loanshark related offences

Four men between the ages of 21 and 63 and a woman, 46, were arrested by the police for suspected involvement with loansharking activities in three separate cases.

Two cases resulted in arrest because the suspects were held for alleged loanshark harassment.

A 21-year-old was arrested in Woodlands Ring Road on Aug 5 after police officers found packets of paint, marker-pen, surgical gloves, a wig and note with debtors' information on him.

His arrest also revealed that he is wanted by the Singapore Armed Forces on desertion charges.

In another case, a 24-year-old was arrested after the police reacted to information that they had received.

The man was believed to be responsible for several cases of loanshark harassment in Woodlands, Bukit Panjang, Bukit Batok and Ang Mo Kio public housing estates.

He is also believed to have assisted in distributing fliers to promote unlicensed moneylending businesses.

Various loanshark-related paraphernalia including boxes of fliers, marker pens, two handphones with debtors' information and eight Ribena Tetra Paks which were filled up with paint were seized.

He is also suspected to be a drug abuser as drug-related paraphernalia were found on him and seized. He will be referred to Central Narcotics Bureau for investigation.

The third case involved two men aged 43 and a 63, and a woman aged 46.

The two men were arrested in Jurong and the woman in Woodlands. All three were arrested for having opened bank accounts and given away their Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards and Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) to loansharks to facilitate their businesses.

First-time offenders found guilty of loanshark harassment can be fined between $5,000 and $50,000 and face a mandatory jail term of up to five years and mandatory caning of up to six strokes.

First-time offenders found guilty of assisting in the carrying on of the business of an unlicensed moneylender, can be fined between $30,000 and $300,000. They can also be jailed up to four years and face up to six strokes of the cane.

abrahamr@sph.com.sg

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