Published: 05 April 2022
Mr Murali Pillai: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) whether there has been an uptick of unlicensed moneylending cases being reported since October 2021 when Singapore's inflation rate started increasing; and (b) what proactive steps have been identified to ensure that unlicensed moneylenders do not take advantage of the inflationary pressures to exploit vulnerable people.
Mr Desmond Tan, Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment:
1. Mr Speaker, we have not detected an uptick in unlicensed moneylending, or UML, cases since October 2021. Between October and December 2021, there were 917 cases of UML and UML-related harassment cases reported. This was an 8% decrease compared to the same period in 2020.
2. The Police take a tough stance against UML activities. In 2021, the Police conducted 11 major enforcement operations and investigated a total of 1,682 subjects. The Police also actively work and share information with foreign enforcement agencies to dismantle UML syndicates that are operating from outside of Singapore. In addition, the Police work closely with the banks to disrupt the operations of UML syndicates.
3. Police have also been enhancing outreach efforts to educate the public against borrowing from or working for unlicensed moneylenders. The Police are planning a new run of the anti-UML campaign, to educate and remind the members of public on the perils of borrowing from unlicensed moneylenders.