10 arrested for loansharking activities

SINGAPORE - Ten people have been arrested in connection to two separate cases of loansharking activities.

In the first case, 4 men and 5 women were arrested in a police operation covering Jalan Bukit Merah, Upper Cross Street, Jurong West, Bukit Panjang and Bedok housing estates.

The suspects are between the ages of 24 and 53 years. The police believe they are debtors-turned-assistors and had supposedly opened bank accounts and given away their Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards and Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) to loansharks to facilitate their businesses.

In another case, a man, 29, was spotted behaving suspiciously by police on their CCTV, in the vicinity of Jurong West Street 81.

Officers were sent to investigate the scene and they found the man to be in possession of loanshark-related paraphernalia such as cans of paint, a pair of gloves, one marker pen and two handphones.

The items were seized by the police and the man was arrested. Initial investigations revealed that the suspect was a debtor-turned-harasser, who has assisted the loanshark syndicates to carry out series of loanshark harassment in Jurong West and Woodlands public housing estates by splashing paint outside debtors' residences and scrawling loanshark-related graffiti on the walls.

In addition, he had also opened bank accounts and given away his 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 jailed up to 5 years, fined between $5,000 and $50,000, and are also liable to receive up to 6 strokes of the cane.

First time offenders found guilty of assisting in the carrying on of the business of an unlicensed moneylender can be jailed up to 4 years, fined between $30,000 and $300,000, and are also liable to receive up to 6 strokes of the cane.

abrahamr@sph.com.sg