11/24/2009

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.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

The question one must ask is, Why are there so many people who knowingly borrow from loan sharks, knowing the consequences if they fail to repay? Increase in the number of cases must surely mean that there are more Singaporeans either needing more cash to make ends meet or there are more gambling addicts. The latter seems quite unlikely, which means that the former is the case. Why are there more people falling behind to provide for their own subsistence? Maybe they are earning less or maybe cost of living is increasing faster than their ability to earn more. Maybe this question should have been asked during Q & A session???

Wally Buffet said...

The solution is so simple that everyone cannot see the wood for the trees.

Make loan sharking a capital offence with a mandatory death sentence. Runners should face life imprisonment and 24 strokes of the rotan. Drastic solutions required for dastardly acts that cause so much anguish for innocent bystanders and take away so much resources which we can scant afford. Nearly 14,000 people arrested for this kind of offence for the 9 months of this year! Wow! that's a world record that is hard to beat. And it's not an achievement that any country would be proud to have. Imagine the kind of police resources required to arrest 14,000 people playing hide and seek in 9 months!

That will put a stop to the nonsense and free our city's finest to more mundane tasks like keeping more order on the roads by firstly, booking all those idiotic taxi drivers and motor cyclists who weave in and out of traffic.

Come to think of it, I have never ever seen a taxi driver booked on the roads.

redbean said...

eh wally, good morning. you need to put on your reading glass my friend. it is reported cases of harassment lah, not arrest.

btw, this works out to be 38 cases daily, 365 days a year. no joke man.

redbean said...

oops, my arithmetic wrong again. it is 13771/270 or 51 reported cases daily.

Wally Buffet said...

Redbean,

My eyes are ok since I have been seeing the snow capped mountains of Shangrila in the distance for the past month or so.

The front page report of the Straight Times para 10 reads:

"The uptick looks set to continue: Last year's figure was surpassed in the first nine months of this year. By the end of September, 13,771 people had been arrested....."

Anonymous said...

51 cases a day !!! The boys in blue must be over-worked. No point trying to catch the runners, better target the big boss. Maybe they are the untouchable, well protected by even bigger bosses ??

redbean said...

oh my god! a thousand apologies wally.

what you said is true. my numbers are wrong. the professionals are right, they always double and triple check their numbers and facts.

thank you for the correction.

changi must be over crowded with 113,771 new inmates. ahhhhhhhh....

redbean said...

and anonymous, it is 51 arrests a day, not cases. : )

now i dunno what to believe.

Anonymous said...

Ya Redbean, 51 arrests a day means 51 cases a day. Those not arrested and escape will not become cases. Right?

redbean said...

i keep making mistakes. it is 13,771 and not 113,771 as posted above. sorry about that.

actually i rather believe My Paper. it reported 13,771 cases of harrassment. can't imagine arresting 51 people everyday.

there was a mentioned of 136 loan shark runners arrested.

Anonymous said...

Do you know who are the loan sharks? Most of them are mere "Middlemen". The ones who supply them the cash to lend out are behind the scene. They are the money suppliers, the Big or Small Bosses, so to speak.

The loan sharks are like CEOs and the Bosses are like Board of Directors of Banks and Finance Companies, some of which may be grouped together like Sovereign Wealth Funds such as GIC and Temasek.

With the loan sharks, there are three types of "Runners' - one that goes about recruiting "lenders" or money suppliers, one that goes about issuing loans and collecting interests/repayments, and one that goes about harassing the defaulted borrowers, which is the most notorious among all the runners.

Many years ago, as far back as 1970s, there was this "Inche", a WO2 in an army camp. In the day time, he was a goody good good first class disciplinarian but in the night he operated as a loan shark runner who issuses out loans and collects weekly/monthly repayment/interest. As he became popular in the 'money world', he started his own 'lending operations' on the sideline. His money suppliers were none other than the other Senior NCOs and Officers from his camp.

The question everyone is eager to ask is: Why was he not exposed and caught?

How can he be exposed? Imagined what will happen if he were to tell the court that Lta, Cpt, Maj, Col, BG so and so are my money suppliers. I am a mere middleman. They are my bosses!"??

And he was also a grass-root leader, very active in helping his PAP MP doing good things to benefit the people. And his immediate Boss, the Commanding Officer, was also a grass-root leader of a CCMC, who happened to like him very much because he had carried out his orders to the finest details without fail and without any complaint.

He survived as a two-face operator until he was officially retired from the Army with EXCELLENT CONDUCT and OUTSTANDING SERVICE medals. Plus the PAP also awarded him a Plague for Excellent Service to the Community and contributions to the success of the various RCs!

A similar case also happened in one of the big Police Stations. The money suppliers were the Police Officers themselves. It is not necessary to go into the details. You have a good brain to imagine for yourself.

Those are only two examples of the spread of coverage/involvement of loan shark operations.

What about the other Public and Private sectors, the various Ministries and Commercial Organisations? What about the Underworld Chiefs and Bosses themselves also wanting to share a piece of this Very Huge Cake?

So, you see, how can the loan sharks be reined in? Don't talk about eradicating them. They are a protected species. They are actually the parallel financial system in the underworld. They are the necessary 'evils'.

And if anyone were to force me to testify against them or any of the Army or Police officers, I would rather die than to reveal their identities.

Of course MHA has to be seen to be taking serious actions against these 'illegal' loan sharks. That is what governments are for, isn't it?

Mother Nature always allows the Yin and the Yang to operate side by side. This is the Only Supreme Law of the Universe! If political leaders do not know this Supreme Law, then they are nothing but mere innocent school children, not yet grown up. Anyone who is born from a Father and a Mother should know this Supreme Law without being taught, unless you are just a robot.