How To Run Away From A Loan Shark In Singapore
Are you being harassed by a loan shark in Singapore? In recent years, loan shark harassment has become a big problem in the country.
Many people are struggling to pay off their debts, and loan sharks are becoming more aggressive in their methods of collecting payments.
From threatening phone calls and text messages to vandalising properties, loan sharks will go to great lengths to get their money back. Sometimes, even those who repay their loans diligently may become targets of loan shark harassment. And this can be a very scary experience.
If you’re being harassed by a loan shark, it’s essential to know how to protect yourself and your family. Here are some tips on how to run away from loan shark in Singapore.
How To Know If You Are Dealing With A Loan Shark
Loan sharks are illegal money lenders that often prey on vulnerable individuals who are in need of quick cash.
They typically charge exorbitant interest rates and use forceful methods to collect repayments. If you are dealing with a loan shark, it is important to know how to identify a loan shark and what to do to protect yourself.
There are a few key signs that you may be dealing with a loan shark:
- They charge high interest rates: Loan sharks typically charge very high interest rates, often in the hundreds or even thousands of percentage points. This makes it extremely difficult to repay the loan, and you are likely to end up owing far more than you originally borrowed.
- Often use intimidation tactics: Loan sharks may use threatening or violent methods to collect repayments. This can include making threats, damaging property, or even physical violence.
- They are difficult to contact: Loan sharks often make it difficult to get in touch with them, making it hard to negotiate repayment terms or resolve any problems that may arise. If you can’t easily reach them by phone or email, that’s a red flag.
- Loan sharks refuse to provide documentation: Loan sharks will often refuse to provide any documentation such as a loan agreement or repayment schedule. This can make it difficult to understand the terms of the loan and how much you will ultimately owe.
- They advertise through flyers, e-mails, and SMS: Another common sign of a loan shark is unsolicited advertising – often through flyers, e-mails, or SMS. They ignore the Ministry of Law’s rules on advertising and use high-pressure tactics to get you to sign up for a loan. In contrast, licensed money lenders only use lawful advertising channels, including their official websites, consumer and business directories, or posters or signboards put up at their shopfronts.
What Happens When You Don’t Pay A Loan Shark in Singapore?
In Singapore, loan sharks are illegal money lenders that operate outside of the law. As such, they are not subject to the same regulations as licensed money lenders are.
They also don’t follow the country’s lending rules and guidelines, which can put borrowers at risk of exploitation.
If you don’t pay a loan shark, it may take drastic measures to try to get their money back. This can include:
- Damaging your property such as your home or car, in an attempt to get you to repay the loan
- Threatening or harming you or your family through threatening phone calls and emails
- Sending intimidating debt collectors to your home or place of work to embarrass you
- Physical violence
- Threatening to report you to the police or other authorities in an attempt to get you arrested
- Publishing your personal information online in an effort to embarrass or shame you into repaying the loan
- Reporting you to the police as a fugitive to get you arrested and imprisoned
- In extreme cases, they have been known to kidnap their victims
If you’re experiencing any of these threats or intimidation tactics, it’s important to seek help immediately. You can contact the police for assistance.
How To Deal With Loan Shark Harassment In Singapore
Any form of harassment from loan sharks can be pretty frightening and overwhelming. You may be tempted to give in to the pressure and repay the loan, but this is not always the best option.
If you’re being harassed by a loan shark, here are some steps you can take:
1. Keep Calm And Don’t Engage With Them
It can be tempting to respond to loan shark harassment in an emotional way. However, it’s essential to keep calm and avoid engaging with loan sharks.
This includes not answering their calls, replying to their texts or emails, or opening any letters they send.
2. Keep A Record Of The Harassment
Keeping a detailed record of the harassment you experience can help strengthen your case if you have to go to court.
It may also deter the loan shark from continuing the harassment if it knows that its actions are being noted down.
Some key points to remember when keeping a record of the harassment:
- Keep a log of all interactions with the loan shark, including the date, time, what happened, and if there were any witnesses
- Save all SMSes, voice recordings, emails, and any other form of communication you have with the loan shark
- Make sure to take note of the loan shark’s appearance and any identifying features, such as the loan shark’s clothes, car, or motorcycle
- If possible, take photos or videos of the loan shark’s harassment
But when collecting this evidence, do not risk your safety. For example, if the loan shark comes to your home, try to take a photo or video of them from inside your home. Do not open the door or go outside.
3. Call The Police
With all the evidence you collect, you can make a report to the police. The police will investigate and take action against the loan shark if it has committed any offences.
You can also call the X-Ah Long service at 1800-924-5664 if you need help or advice on handling the situation. The service is available in four languages – English, Mandarin, Malay, and Tamil.
However, if you’re dealing with a licensed money lender, you should lodge a complaint with the Registry of Moneylenders instead. Call the Registry at 1800-2255-529 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Seek Help From A Debt Counsellor
If you’re struggling to repay your debt, seek help from a debt counsellor. A debt counsellor will work out a repayment plan with you and negotiate with your creditors on your behalf.
5. Take Legal Action
If the harassment doesn’t stop after you’ve made a police report, you can take out a personal protection order (PPO) or a restraining order against the loan shark.
You can also file a civil suit against the loan shark if it has caused you physical or mental harm, damaged your property, or invaded your privacy.
However, ensure you contact a reputable lawyer before taking any legal action. You can get help from the Law Society or the Singapore Academy of Law.
6. Call Social Services For More Help
Sometimes, loan shark threats and harassment can be more than just a financial problem. If you feel like you’re in danger or are being emotionally abused, call these social service hotlines:
- MSF ComCare: 1800 222 0000
- Credit Counselling of Singapore: 6225 5227
- Adullam Life Counselling: 6659 7844
- Association of Muslim Professionals: 6416 3960
- Silver Lining Community Services: 6749 0400
- Arise2Care Community Services: 6909 0628
- One Hope Centre: 6547 1011
- Blessed Grace Social Services: 8428 6377
These hotlines will help to connect you with the necessary support and resources. If you need immediate assistance, call the police at 999. The police will be able to help you and your family to stay safe.
What Is the Punishment For Loan Sharks In Singapore?
If the loan shark has committed any offences as an individual, he or she may be fined or jailed. The maximum punishment for operating as an unlicensed money lender is a $30,000 fine and up to four years in jail.
If the offender is a company, the maximum fine is $60,000. The maximum punishment for harassment is a $5,000 fine and up to three years in jail.
For first-time offenders, the punishment is usually fine. But for repeat offenders or those who have caused serious harassment, the court may impose a jail sentence.
Caning is also a possible punishment for loan shark harassment. For example, in 2016, a 37-year-old man was sentenced to six months in jail and three strokes of the cane for harassing a debtor.
In the same year, a 46-year-old woman was jailed for two weeks and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine for splashing paint on a debtor’s door.
Loan sharks may also have their assets seized by the police. For example, in 2017, the police seized more than $700,000 worth of assets from a group of unlicensed money lenders. This included cash, jewellery, and watches.
Always Know How To Run Away From Loan Shark
Loan sharks are a big problem in Singapore. If loan sharks are harassing you, don’t suffer in silence. There are many ways you can get help and put an end to the harassment.
Remember, it’s not worth risking your safety or your family’s safety just to repay a debt. Seek help as soon as possible and be sure you know how to run away from loan shark.
The best way to avoid loan sharks is to avoid borrowing from them in the first place. If you need a loan, consider other options, such as licensed money lenders or banks.
A great place to get a loan is BST Credit. We are a licensed money lender with low interest rates, flexible repayment plans, and quick approval. We abide by the rules and regulations in the Moneylenders Act.