Progress made against unlicensed moneylending

The number of cases involving unlicensed moneylending and related harassment offences fell to slightly over 8,300 last year, down from over 18,000 cases in 2009.

This improvement was the result of the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Singapore Police Force dealing with the problem at multiple levels, said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Teo Chee Hean at the police's annual workplan seminar and exhibition yesterday.

On the enforcement front, the Moneylenders Act was amended to provide for stiffer penalties against unlicensed moneylenders and those who worked for them. The police also developed specialised units at the divisional level and the Criminal Investigation Department to continually assess the threat.

Some video cameras were initially made available to the divisions to be deployed where needed. They were then deployed to provide round-the-clock deterrence and rapid follow-up for investigations.

To address the demand side of illegal borrowing, public education campaigns highlighted its dangers and pointed those in financial need to Social Services Offices, Family Service Centres and Credit Counselling Singapore.

This article was published on May 3 in The New Paper.

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