Published: 02 November 2021
Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) over the past three years, how many police reports have been made annually regarding the conduct of debt collection agencies or their employees and agents; (b) in how many cases was an offence made out; and (c) what are the outcomes of such cases.
Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law:
1. The Police track reports where criminal offences are made out. From 2018 to 2020, there were, on average, about 400 Police reports a year pertaining to the conduct of debt collection agencies or their employees. 97% of these cases were classified as Intentional Harassment under the Protection from Harassment Act, and the rest were classified as offences such as Mischief or Voluntarily Causing Hurt under the Penal Code.
2. Police will initiate investigations when there is a prima facie case which is arrestable. Where it is not arrestable, the complainant will be advised to pursue civil remedies, or file a Magistrate’s Complaint. From 2018 to 2020, Police investigated 192 cases.
3. Prosecution or other action will be taken with the advice of AGC, when it is assessed that a case can be made out, beyond reasonable doubt.
4. Thirteen of the above cases resulted in warnings and six cases in convictions.
5. MHA plans to introduce new legislation to regulate debt collection companies and their employees. We will be conducting public consultations soon.