SINGAPORE - Seven men, aged between 17 and 25, have been arrested by the police for allegedly vandalising Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) relating to loanshark harassment at Hougang, Serangoon and Marsiling, and residential units in Pasir Ris.
Four reports were lodged between July 26 and 30 regarding ATMs being splashed with unknown substances and paint. Debtors' notes were also discovered at the ATMs.
The first suspect's identity was subsequently established, and an operation carried out at Ubi Avenue 1 on July 30 at about 6.30pm.
Following the first arrest, simultaneous island-wide operations were conducted at Ang Mo Kio, Serangoon, Rochor, Marsiling and Woodlands, leading to the arrest of six other suspects. During the operations, handphones, laptop, gloves, mask and paper with entries were also seized as case exhibits.
According to a police statement, the first suspect is also believed to be a recruiter who had advertised job opportunities on social media promising fast cash.
All seven suspects will be charged in Court on Aug 1 for loanshark harassment.
Under the Moneylenders Act (Revised Edition 2010), first-time offenders found guilty of acting on behalf of an unlicensed moneylender, committing or attempting to commit any acts of harassment shall be punished with imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 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 3 and not more than 6 strokes.
Head of the Unlicensed Moneylending Strikeforce of Criminal Investigation Department, Superintendent of Police Aileen Yap, said: "Police have zero tolerance against loanshark harassment. Those who deliberately vandalise properties will be arrested swiftly and dealt with severely in accordance with the law.
"No effort will be spared to nab them to face the full consequences of their misdeeds regardless of their age. "