Man arrested for loanshark harassment involving fire
A 31-year-old man was arrested on Monday (June 15) for loanshark harassment involving fire.
He had allegedly committed the crime on Saturday (June 13) at Block 272 Toh Guan Road.
Police received a report and managed to identify the suspect with the help of police cameras in the area.
He was arrested two days later at Lorong 5 Toa Payoh at about 5.20pm. Cans of paint, bicycle chain locks and marker pens were seized.
Charged with loanshark harassment
The suspect is believed to be involved in more than 10 cases of loanshark harassment. At least five of these cases involved fire.
He will be charged in court on Wednesday (June 17).
Under the Moneylenders Act (Revised Edition 2010), first-time offenders found guilty of acting on behalf of an unlicensed moneylender, committing or attempting to commit any acts of harassment, will be jailed for up to five years and fined up to $50,000, and may be given up to six strokes of the cane.
Mr Loh Kah Wai, head of the Unlicensed Money Lending Strikeforce of the Specialised Crime Division, said: "Police have zero tolerance against such lawless acts of loanshark harassment involving fire which threaten the community’s sense of safety.
"We will continue with our tough enforcement action and spare no effort to nab these offenders to ensure that they face the full consequences of their actions."
Drop in number of cases
The number of loanshark harassment cases has been declining in recent years – There were 7,052 cases in 2013 and 5,763 cases in 2014.
The number of harassment cases where property was damaged has also dropped from 5,176 cases in 2013 to 2,772 cases in 2014.
The Moneylenders Act was amended in 2010 to brings stiffer penalties for loanshark-related activities after a spike in harassment cases.
Those who help loan sharks as runners or by harassing borrowers face harsher punishment, including mandatory jail and possible caning.