Beware of new loan shark tactic: Using prospective borrowers to harass debtors

SINGAPORE – A 69-year-old borrower was told to go to a specific address to pick up the loan. He was asked to slip his NRIC under the door.

He did so but did not get any response despite knocking on the door repeatedly. He then called the police to help retrieve his NRIC.

The address turned out to be that of a 54-year-old debtor who had defaulted on his loan repayments.

The Police said in a release on Friday that this is a new tactic employed by loan sharks to use prospective borrowers to harass debtors.

Investigations are currently ongoing against the prospective borrower for an offence of harassment by causing annoyance under the Moneylenders Act.

Borrowers who commit such acts may be liable for an offence under the Moneylenders Act (Revised Edition 2010). First time offenders found guilty of loan shark harassment will be jailed for up to five years, fined between $5,000 and $50,000, and may be given between three and six strokes of the cane.

Further investigations also showed that the debtor had also assisted loan sharks in their activities by opening a bank account for their use. He has been arrested.

A first time offender found guilty of assisting loan sharks in their unlawful activities may be jailed for up to four years and fined between $30,000 and $300,000.

Members of public are advised to stay away from loan sharks and not to borrow money or assist the unlicensed moneylenders in any way.

The public can call the X-Ah-Long hotline at 1800 924 5664 if they have any information on anyone who could be involved in illegal loan shark activities or 999 for urgent Police assistance.

Sources: The Straits Times