Johor Baru — Loan sharks are targeting workers in Singapore and charging interest rates of 24 percent to 60 percent per year.
After a series of raids in Johor Baru, police have arrested 21 loan sharks that have been running illegal money lending operations. They have been targeting vulnerable Singapore workers as well as individuals blacklisted by banks and other lawful financial institutions.
The raids are considered the biggest in 2019 following the discovery of three major loan syndicates across the state.
Contrary to previous perceptions of shady back alleys, these loan sharks now operate from their luxury condominiums and stylish houses.
Officers from the Bukit Aman Commercial Crimes Investigations Department and Johor officers conducted the raid and arrests in places such as Iskandar Puteri, Seri Alam and Setia Indah.
Police confiscated several items from the suspects such as dozens of burner cellphones, computers, vehicles, ATM cards, bank books, fliers, and cash.
They also seized a ledger containing personal information of the borrowers.
“The suspects were nabbed based on more than a dozen police reports lodged by the victims in the state,” according to an unnamed source quoted by The Star.
Authorities urge the public to go to licensed financial institutions instead of borrowing from these illegal moneylenders that charge exorbitant interest rates and threaten borrowers with blackmail and harassment./TISG