The writings on the walls
The graffitis are getting bigger and more colourful. They are painted on lift doors, doors of HDB flats, on windows, on staircases. They are the works of loan shark runners. Despite quite a few have been arrested the number of reported cases of loan shark harassment has gone up to 13,771 for Jan to Sep , exceeding the 11.789 cases reported for the whole of last year. What are the loan shark graffitis saying? The message is simple. This is loan shark country. They are the boss. Now the men in blue are up in arms to deal with them seriously. New laws are being passed with stiffer penalties, heavier fines and caning for the runners, and now also the masterminds and the big guys. The question is whether the new punishments are enough to deter loan shark activities which are criminal in nature? Maybe the MHA can take a leaf from SGX on how to solve irritating problems. The exchange is very disturbed by the need to buy back shares which investors/remisiers sold by mistake or carelessness. These are not crimes but silly mistakes. The number of shares or values maybe very small, tens of dollars or a couple of hundreds of dollars. The penalty for the first unsuccessful attempt to buy back is $1000 fine or 5% of the contract value whichever is higher. And the penalties will go up with each day of delay in buying back the shares. After due date +3, the penalty is $5000 per day until the shares are bought back. And there will be disciplinary actions as well. The penalties are so effective that the remisiers and small investors are trembling in fear of making such mistakes. This is what is called effectiveness. Would the loan sharks and their runners tremble in fear with the new laws and penalties? We will have to wait for the harassment stats to tell the story.