The Singapore Police Force (SPF) said that they have arrested 3 loansharks on May 28 for for 2 separate cases.
By: Phoenix Lee/
In one case the SPF arrested two loansharks (men aged 17 and 34) for their suspected involvement in loansharking activities.
SPF said that between late 2018 and May 2019, it received multiple reports of loanshark harassment letters being sent by post to government establishments, places of worship, and a residential unit where the occupant was not the targeted debtor.
Through investigations, officers from the Criminal Investigation Department and various Police Divisions arrested the two suspected loansharks on 27 May 2019 and 28 May 2019. Preliminary investigations revealed that the suspected loansharks were believed to have mailed letters containing information of alleged debtors to numerous addresses to cause harassment to the alleged debtors and recipients as well as demand repayments to the loansharks.
The 34-year-old suspect will be charged in court on 29 May 2019 for offences under the Moneylenders Act (Revised Edition 2010). Investigations are ongoing against the other suspect.
In another case, the Police arrested a man, aged 26, for his suspected involvement in loanshark harassment. On 10 May 2019, the Police were alerted to a case of loanshark harassment committed at Serangoon North Avenue 3. A residential unit was splashed with red paint, and a debtor’s note was placed on the door of the unit.
Through follow-up investigations with the aid of images from police cameras, officers from Ang Mo Kio Police Division established the identity of the man and arrested him on 27 May 2019. The man will be charged in court on 29 May 2019.
When a person fails to pay on time, the loansharks will set fire, spray paint, splash, or write threats in paint or markers on the walls of the property of that person as a threat of violence and to scare, and perhaps shame, the borrower into repaying the loan. A common use of painting includes the characters “O$P$” meaning “owe money, pay money”, as well as the debtors’ unit number. According to local police authorities, there have been cases where borrowers and their family members were beaten or had their property damaged or destroyed, and some victims have committed suicide.
The best advice to deal with loansharks is to not deal with them at all.
- Never borrow from loansharks; any short term solution this seems to provide will be overshadowed by the unceasing harassments for payments, even after the full sum is paid;
- Never be a guarantor to any illegal loans;
- Do not lend your NRIC to another person;
- Do not gamble excessively & seek help if you are a compulsive gambler;
The Singapore police advises the public to urge their friends and relatives not to borrow from illegal lenders but seek help through legal means of financial assistance such as credit counselling helplines and financial management professionals.
The Singapore Police Force said cases of harassment linked to activities of unlicensed moneylenders in Singapore went up by about 20 per cent to 4,619 cases last year. There was also a 33.5 per cent jump in harassment by electronic means such as on social media and SMS, with these instances forming the bulk of such cases reported last year.
The best advise anyone can get when faced with financial crunch is to cope with cash flow without borrowing. Before you are late on a rent, mortgage, or utility payment, speak with the creditor. For non-interest bills, such as utility or telephone bills, ask about making payment arrangements. Ask to delay payment until your pay arrives or set up a repayment schedule that stretches out payments.
Those in financial crunch may ask your friends or family to lend you money. Remember that a written agreement to repay the loan can help avoid family strife later. Licensed money lenders who charge no more than 4% interest per month on the amount you have borrowed, are another source for those under financial stress.
But before you approach a licensed money lender, consider other alternatives, such as the various financial assistance schemes offered by various Government agencies. As you are legally obliged to fulfil any loan contract you enter into with a licensed moneylender, consider whether you are able to abide by the contractual terms, bearing in mind your income and financial obligations.
Borrow only what you need and are able to repay. Be mindful that if you are unable to meet the contractual terms, the late payment fees and interest payment will be a financial strain not just on yourself but also on your family. The law requires moneylenders to explain the terms of a loan to you in a language you understand and to provide you with a copy of the loan contract. Make sure you fully understand the terms of the contract, in particular, the repayment schedule, the interest rate charged and the fees applicable.
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