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     FrontPage Edition: Wed 16 January 2008

 5 people arrested for unlicensed moneylending activities


Five Persons Arrested In Police Operation Against Unlicensed Moneylending Activities

Police arrested four men and one woman, aged between 28 and 53 years old on 15 January 2008, in an island-wide operation conducted by officers from the Criminal Investigation Department.
After months of intensive intelligence probes, police identified the suspects as members of an unlicensed moneylending syndicate. In the operation, various premises in Keong Siak Road, Toa Payoh, Woodlands and Bukit Timah were raided. Cash, mobile phones, an assortment of ATM cards and suspected debtorsí records were seized. At one of the locations, offensive and scheduled weapons consisting of 7 wooden poles, 1 dagger and 5 parangs were also uncovered and seized.
The syndicate has suspected secret society links and the weapons are believed to have been stored for possible use in a gang fight. These weapons were not used for unlicensed moneylending related harassment. Its unlicensed moneylending operation is believed to have at least 200 debtors with a monthly turnover of approximately $150,000. When debtors defaulted on their loans, the syndicate would then make threatening phone calls to them.
Persons found in possession of a scheduled weapon, which includes parangs, face up to 5 years in jail and caning of not less than 6 strokes.
First-time offenders found guilty of operating a business as an unlicensed moneylender may be fined up to $200,000, or jailed a maximum of 2 years, or both. Repeat offenders may be fined up to $200,000 and jailed up to 5 years. Persons found guilty of harassing or intimidating any persons in connection with loans by an unlicensed moneylender may be fined up to $40,000 or jailed up to 3 years, or both. In addition, offenders are also liable for caning damage was caused to any property during the acts of harassment.

Source: Media Release 16 Jan 2008

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