Published: 18 September 2023
Mr Sharael Taha: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) to date, how many bank accounts suspected of being involved in scam activities have been frozen by the Singapore Police Force; (b) how many of such bank accounts belong to individuals who have only one bank account; (c) of the total number of bank accounts frozen, how many have eventually been found to be involved in scam activities; and (d) whether the Ministry has data on the number of applications to the courts to access funds in frozen bank accounts for basic expenses.
Mr Sharael Taha: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs with regard to bank accounts that are frozen by the Singapore Police Force for suspected involvement in scam activities, what is the average time taken from the completion of investigation to the eventual unfreezing of the bank account.
Ms Sun Xueling, Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Social and Family Development:
1. The Singapore Police Force (SPF) only freezes bank accounts when there is reason to suspect that the bank accounts are involved in illicit activities, including scams.
2. The member may refer to the SPF’s Annual Scams and Cybercrime Brief published on the SPF’s website, for the number of bank accounts suspected to be involved in scams which the SPF has frozen each year. The SPF does not track whether the frozen bank account is the owner’s only bank account.
3. Persons whose bank accounts are frozen can make an application to the courts to withdraw money for reasonable living or other legitimate expenses. The SPF does not collect information on the number of such applications to the courts.
4. The SPF would unfreeze frozen bank accounts when they are subsequently found to not be involved in criminal activity, and are no longer required for the purposes of investigation, trial or other court proceedings. The SPF does not track the time taken to unfreeze bank accounts after investigations have been completed.