122 persons in S'pore investigated for unlicensed moneylending activities

They allegedly conducted harassment activities, acted as runners and provided personal bank accounts to unlicensed moneylenders.

Seri Mazliana | April 05, 2024, 09:37 AM



A total of 122 persons, aged between 15 and 76, are being investigated by the Singapore Police Force (SPF) for their suspected involvement in unlicensed moneylending activities, following a seven-day operation from Mar. 22 to 28, 2024.

In a press release on Apr. 4, SPF said the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officers and seven police land divisions conducted simultaneous raids island-wide.

Harassed debtors and provided personal bank accounts to moneylenders

Preliminary investigations revealed that 17 persons had allegedly conducted harassment at debtors’ residences and 45 persons are believed to have been runners assisting in unlicensed moneylending businesses by carrying out Automated Teller Machine (ATM) transfers.

The other 60 suspects are believed to have opened bank accounts and provided their ATM cards, personal identification numbers (PINs) and/ or internet banking tokens to unlicensed moneylenders.

Police investigations are ongoing.

Penalties for moneylending activities

Under the Moneylenders Act 2008, when a bank account, ATM card or internet banking token of any person is used to facilitate moneylending by an unlicensed moneylender, that person is presumed to have assisted in carrying on the business of unlicensed moneylending.

First-time offenders found guilty of the offence of carrying on or assisting in a business of unlicensed moneylending shall be punished with imprisonment term of up to four years, a fine of up to S$300,000 and caning of up to six strokes.

First-time offenders found guilty of the offence of acting on behalf of an unlicensed moneylender to commit or attempt to commit any acts of harassment may face a jail term of up to five years, a fine of up to S$50,000 and up to six strokes of the cane.

SPF said it will continue to take tough enforcement action against those involved in the unlicensed moneylending business, regardless of their roles.

This includes taking action against those who provide their bank accounts to aid unlicensed moneylenders.

Public to stay away from unlicensed moneylenders

Unlicensed moneylenders will not hesitate to carry out persistent and dangerous harassment acts on the borrowers and their families, such as setting fire and splashing paint at their residences, and locking the gates using chains or bicycle locks to confine the occupants.

SPF urged the public to avoid unlicensed moneylenders and not to work with or assist them in any way.

The public can call the police at "999" or the "X-Ah Long" hotline at 1800-924-5664 if they suspect or know of anyone who could be involved in unlicensed moneylending activities.

Top photo by Canva