Loan sharks' new tactic in Singapore: Using food delivery services to harass debtors

Moneylenders would occasionally order the food to be delivered to the debtors' relatives.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE, April 23 (The Straits Times/ANN) - Even with the circuit breaker measures in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus, loan sharks have found a way to pester people who owe them money.

The police are now seeing a rising trend of unlicensed moneylenders using food delivery services to harass debtors here.

In a statement on Wednesday (April 22), the police said that these illicit moneylenders would order large amounts of food, or make multiple orders a day, to be delivered to the debtors' homes, often late at night.

Occasionally, the moneylenders would order the food to be delivered to the debtors' relatives.

The deliverymen would then request payment from the debtors or their relatives for the food.

Because of this tactic, several food and beverage operators using food delivery services have suffered losses, the police said.

Commenting on the matter on Facebook, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Amrin Amin said: "I know times are bad. But please don't fall prey to vultures.

"You may receive SMSes, WhatsApp (messages) or e-mails offering loans. These are scams or scums (referring to loan sharks)... Licensed moneylenders can't advertise this way," he added.

Meanwhile, the police are still arresting suspects believed to have engaged in more traditional loan shark harassment activities despite the circuit breaker period that kicked in on April 7.

For instance, the police said on Tuesday that they arrested a 17-year-old girl in one such case. They were alerted on April 15, at about 5pm, to a case of loan shark harassment where the door of a residential unit in Anchorvale Link in Sengkang was splashed with paint and writings were found on the nearby wall.

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