The Police are investigating 156 persons, aged between 13 and 79, for their suspected involvement in unlicensed moneylending activities.
During a five-days anti-unlicensed moneylending operation conducted between 21 and 25 November 2022, officers from the Criminal Investigation Department and the seven Police Land Divisions conducted simultaneous raids island-wide.
Preliminary investigations revealed that 23 persons had allegedly conducted harassment at debtors’ residences, and 53 persons, believed to be runners, had assisted in unlicensed moneylending businesses by carrying out Automated Teller Machine (ATM) transfers.
The remaining 75 persons are believed to have opened bank accounts and provided their ATM cards and Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) to unlicensed moneylenders to facilitate their unlicensed moneylending businesses.
Investigations against all the persons are ongoing.
Under the Moneylenders Act 2008:
- The offence of carrying on or assisting in a business of unlicensed moneylending carries an imprisonment term of up to four years, a fine between $30,000 and $300,000, and caning of up to six strokes.
- The offence of acting on behalf of an unlicensed moneylender, committing or attempting to commit any acts of harassment carries an imprisonment term of up to five years, a fine between $5,000 and $50,000, and caning between three and six strokes.
The Police will continue to take tough enforcement action against those involved in the unlicensed moneylending business, regardless of their roles, and ensure that they face the full brunt of the law. This would include taking action against those who open or give away their bank accounts to aid unlicensed moneylenders.
Unlicensed moneylenders are increasingly sending unsolicited loan advertisements via text messages or online platforms. Members of the public are reminded not to reply or respond to such advertisements and to report these messages as spam. Members of the public are advised to stay away from 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.