SINGAPORE: The Singapore Police Force (SPF) has issued an advisory to remind the public to be mindful of a new tactic used by unlicensed moneylenders (UML) when they offer illicit loans.
On Jun 20, police received a report of an unlicensed moneylender directing a 69-year-old prospective borrower to a residential address to collect a loan. The 69-year-old was then asked to slip his NRIC under the front door of the residence.
The prospective borrower did so, but did not get any response despite repeated knocking on the door. He then called for police assistance to retrieve his NRIC, and the police then found that the address was that of a 54-year-old debtor who had defaulted on his loan repayments.
According to police, this is a new method employed by UMLs to use prospective borrowers to harass debtors who had defaulted on payments. Investigations are currently ongoing against the prospective borrower for an offence of harassment by causing annoyance under the Moneylenders Act, police said.
Borrowers who commit such acts may be liable for an offence under the Moneylenders Act. First time offenders found guilty of loanshark harassment will be punished with a jail term of up to 5 years, a fine of not less than S$5,000 and not more than S$50,000, and caning of not less than 3 and not more than 6 strokes.
Police added that further investigations revealed the 54-year-old male Singaporean debtor had also assisted loansharks in their UML activities by opening a bank account for their use. He was subsequently placed under arrest.
A first time offender found guilty of assisting loansharks in their unlawful activities may be punished with a jail term of up to 4 years and a fine of not less than S$30,000 and not more than S$300,000.
Members of public are advised to stay away from unlicensed moneylenders and not to borrow money or assist the unlicensed moneylenders in any way, said police. The public can call the loanshark hotline at 1800-924-5664 if they have any information on anyone who could be involved in illegal loansharking activities or 999 for urgent police assistance.
Sources: Channel NewsAsia