8 men, 4 women arrested for suspected loansharking activities

SINGAPORE - Eight men and four women have been arrested for their suspected involvement in loansharking activities, the police said on Friday (Jan 22).

In a statement, the police revealed that six of the men and four women were arrested in a four-day operation covering Bukit Batok, Bukit Panjang, Choa Chu Kang, Woodlands, Jurong West and Marine Terrace.

Preliminary investigations indicate that they are believed to have opened bank accounts and given away their ATM cards and personal identification numbers (PINs) to loansharks to facilitate unlicensed moneylending businesses.

Investigations against these 10 suspects, aged between 20 and 63, are still ongoing, police said.

27-year-old male arrested in vicinity of Somerset Road

Separately, a 27-year-old man who is believed to have assisted loanshark syndicates was arrested on Wednesday (Jan 21) in the vicinity of Somerset Road.

He is suspected of helping the syndicates procure ATM cards with PINs from other debtors, and carrying out ATM transfers.

ATM transaction receipts and a mobile phone were seized during his arrest.

18-year-old male arrested for suspected loanshark harassment in Woodlands

The last suspect was also arrested on Jan 21. Police said they had received a report on loanshark harassment on Jan 19, whereby paint was splashed on the front door and graffiti scrawled on the wall of a Woodlands HDB residential unit.

After conducting ground enquiries and viewing the images from police cameras, the 18-year-old suspect was arrested two days later in Woodlands.

He is believed to have carried out similar acts of harassment in Yishun, Punggol, Toa Payoh, Marsiling and Woodlands.

If found guilty, first-time offenders found guilty of being an unlicensed moneylender or assisting in unlicensed moneylending may be fined between $30,000 and $300,000, jailed for up to four years, and may also caned up to six strokes.

Meanwhile, first-time offenders found guilty of loanshark harassment may be fined between $5,000 and $50,000, with mandatory jail terms of up to five years and caning of up to six strokes.