The Police have arrested a 31-year-old male Indian national for his suspected involvement in unlicensed moneylending activities.

In late August 2017, the Police received information that a man had been approaching foreigners and issuing loans to them at the vicinity of Tanjong Katong. After establishing the identity of the suspect, officers from the Criminal Investigation Department conducted an operation on 3 September 2017 and arrested him at a shopping centre along Paya Lebar Road. Following the arrest, items including cash amounting to S$2,889, one Automated Teller Machine (ATM) card, one DBS Internet Banking token, one mobile phone, one notepad and a red coloured pouch were seized as case exhibits.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the suspect had issued loans amounting to about S$26,000 to more than 30 foreign domestic helpers and foreign workers with a 20% monthly interest.

The suspect will be charged in Court on 5 September 2017 for the offence of Carrying on the Business of Unlicensed Moneylending under Section 5(1) of the Moneylenders' Act (Revised Edition 2010), Chapter 118. If convicted, he shall be punished with a fine of not less than $30,000 and not more than $300,000 and with imprisonment for a term not exceeding 4 years; and shall also be liable to be punished with caning with not more than 6 strokes.

The Police have observed that foreign workers, including foreign domestic helpers, are borrowing money from Unlicensed Moneylenders (UML) due to various reasons, such as being in financial difficulty or to help their friends to settle debts with other UMLs. The foreign workers are usually referred to UMLs through their friends or through SMS advertising illegal loans. As a result of borrowing from UMLs, the foreign workers may receive threatening calls or SMSes from UMLs or face harassment at their residential addresses. In some instances, foreign workers would also assist UMLs in their illegal activities.

The Police would like to urge employers of foreign workers to remind them to stay away from loansharks and not work with or assist the loansharks 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 loansharking activities. Foreign workers who are involved in facilitating unlicensed moneylending activities will be dealt with firmly under our laws and will have their work passes revoked.

Source: Singapore Police Force