One of 181 14-year-olds investigated for alleged unauthorized money lending activity

SINGAPORE: A total of 181 people between the ages of 14 and 77 are being investigated for their alleged involvement in unauthorized moneylending activities, police announced on Saturday (January 22nd).

The suspects were identified following a two-week operation against unlicensed money lending between January 10 and January 21.

The operation saw officers from the Criminal Investigation Department and seven police land divisions carry out simultaneous raids across the island.

“Preliminary investigations revealed that 15 suspects allegedly carried out harassment at the debtors’ homes,” police said in a statement.

Another 28 suspects are believed to be smugglers who aided unlicensed money lending businesses by making transfers at automated teller machines (ATMs).

“A suspect also allegedly provided false contact details to an unlicensed pawnshop, which led to harassment at the home of an innocent victim,” police added.

The remaining 137 suspects are said to have opened bank accounts and provided their ATM cards, personal identification numbers (PINs) or internet banking tokens to unlicensed lenders to facilitate their business.

Investigations against all suspects are ongoing, police said.

A person whose bank account, ATM card or Internet banking token is used to facilitate the lending of money by an unlicensed pawnbroker is presumed to have helped carry on the unlicensed activities, the SPF said.

First-time offenders risk up to four years in prison, a fine of S$30,000 to S$300,000 and up to six strokes of the cane.

First-time offenders convicted of committing or attempting to commit acts of harassment on behalf of unlicensed lenders face up to five years in prison, a fine of S$5,000 to 50,000 and between three and six strokes. cane.

Those found guilty of providing false details to obtain loans from unapproved lenders can be jailed for up to 12 months.

Police say they will continue to take tough enforcement action against those involved in unlicensed moneylending businesses, regardless of their role, and ensure they bear the ‘full brunt of the law’ .

This includes taking action against those who open or give away their bank accounts to help unapproved lenders.

“Unapproved lenders are increasingly using text messaging or online platforms to send unsolicited loan announcements. Members of the public are reminded not to respond to or respond to such advertisements and to report such messages as spam,” the police said.

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