4 arrested for suspected loanshark activities

4 arrested for suspected loanshark activities
Case exhibits seized in the first case

Police have arrested four people, aged between 17 and 43 years, for their suspected involvement in loansharking activities in three separate cases.

In the first case, police arrested two 17-year-old youths for their suspected involvement in multiple cases of loanshark harassment.

On Nov 7, police received a report on a case of loanshark harassment where a unit located at a housing estate at McNair Road was splashed with paint and chained with a bicycle lock. Loanshark-related graffiti was also found in the vicinity.

Once reported, officers from Rochor Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC) carried out extensive investigations and managed to obtain CCTV images of the suspects from the Police Cameras mounted in the area. This lead to their arrest at Jurong West on Nov 12 at about 5am.

Preliminary investigations showed that the suspects were involved in at least 20 counts of loanshark harassment by splashing paint at debtors' units and scrawling loanshark-related graffiti at Yishun, Boon Lay, Jalan Bukit Merah, McNair Road, Rowell Road, Sengkang, Compassvale and Tampines.

When the arrest, several handphones, black marker pens, masks and cans of spray paint were seized as case exhibits.

In the second case, on Nov 11 at about 12pm, through follow-up investigations into a case of loansharking activity, officers from Bukit Panjang NPC arrested a 43-year-old woman in the vicinity of Segar Road for her suspected involvement in the case.

Preliminary investigations revealed that she is a debtor-turned-assistor, who assisted the loanshark syndicates to carry out banking transactions related to unlicensed moneylending businesses. When arrested, one Automated Teller Machine (ATM) card and one handphone were seized in connection to the case.

Investigations against her are still on-going.

In the final case, on Nov 11 at about 10.15pm, officers from Bukit Batok NPC, acting on information received, arrested on 25-year-old man in the vicinity of Bukit Batok Central for his suspected involvement in loansharking activities.

Preliminary investigations revealed that he is a debtor-turned-runner, who assisted the loanshark syndicates to procure ATM cards with Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) from other debtors and used them to perform ATM transactions related to unlicensed moneylending businesses.

When arrested, seven ATM cards, one handphone and cash amounting to $800 were seized in connection to the case.

First-time offenders found guilty of loanshark harassment shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of up to five years, a fine of not less than $5,000 and not more than $50,000, and shall also be liable to caning of not less than three and not more than six strokes.

First-time offenders found guilty of carrying on the business as an unlicensed moneylender or assisting in the business of unlicensed moneylending may be fined not less than $30,000 and not more $300,000, be imprisoned for a term not exceeding four years and shall also be liable to be punished with caning not more than six strokes.

spanaech@sph.com.sg

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