Published: 05 April 2022
Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) how many youths have been caught for involvement in scams in the past year; (b) whether there is a rising trend of youths involved in scams; and (c) what is being done to educate and prevent youths from being lured into joining scam syndicates.
Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law:
1. The number of youths below the age of 30 who were arrested for scam-related offences jumped from 237 in 2019, to 509 in 2020, before decreasing slightly to 493 in 2021. Youths form about half of all scam-related offenders arrested in Singapore.
2. The cases generally involved youths acting as money mules. They either handed over control of their bank account, or disclosed their Singpass login details, to scammers, or carried out scam-related bank transfers themselves in exchange for a commission. The youths were lured by the quick and easy money that could be made through scams and scam activities.
3. The Police have been working with schools and institutes of higher learning to raise awareness amongst youths on the consequences of crime. These efforts include talks and crime prevention exhibitions.
4. The Police have also been raising awareness specifically of the consequences of being involved in scam activities, such as acting as money mules. This is done through advisories and educational campaigns. For example, last year, the Police collaborated with the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) to run a nationwide money mule public education campaign. The topic of money mule was also exclusively featured in an episode of “Hello Police?”, which is a web-series published on social media platforms, to raise awareness on the legal consequences of acting as a money mule and the immediate steps to take if one suspects that he or she has been used as a money mule.
5. The Police will continue to work with our stakeholders to enhance outreach to youths on the consequences of being involved in scam and other criminal activities.