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Singapore authorities have decided to amend laws for prosecuting money mules facilitating financial scams.
The Singapore police have arrested a “large number” of people facilitating scams around different areas, but many money mules often are let off the hook without prosecution because of difficulties in proving the intent to facilitate such scams.
According to K. Shanmugam, the Law and Home Affairs Minister, the MHA is looking to amend laws to fix this issue.
Mr Yip Hon Weng, a member of the Singapore parliament, had asked about common penalties for money mules and whether these charges can be increased as a deterrent.
In a written response to the parliament, Mr Shanmugan said, “In short, the issue is not with the penalties in our current laws, but our laws need to be enhanced to make it easier to make out money laundering offences in such scam cases.”
The selling of details, the main resource for facilitating scams, is another loophole the authorities are working hard to overcome.
MHA aims to introduce new provisions to curb such misuse of Singpass, said Mr Shanmugam. More data on the initiative will be provided when ready, he added.
He added that the authorities will investigate the money mules who sell their sensitive data such as bank accounts or Singpass details for money laundering activities and scams.
They may also be prosecuted in court under the CDSA (Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes Act), CMA ( Computer Misuse Act) and Payment Services Act or the Penal code.
Mr Shanmugam added that those who sell their bank accounts do so for their own conscious choice to attract commissions and monetary benefits.
Mr Shanmugam noted that stringent punishments are already in place, but the problem is in making out the money laundering offences so that money mules can be prosecuted.
He said: “Money mules facilitate the perpetration of scams. To fight scams more effectively, we need to prevent and deter individuals from acting as money mules.”
According to the police, In 2022, there were more than 31,000 scam cases, higher than the 2021 count of 23,000. Also, the victims in Singapore lost $660.7 million last year, compared to $632 million in 2021.
On Tuesday, Mr Shanmugam said the amendments would place a greater onus on individuals.
He said: “We will be introducing new provisions and penalties to the CDSA to impose obligations on individuals to exercise greater accountability and vigilance when transferring money on behalf of others.”
CRYPTOCURRENCIES NEED REGULATION TO PREVENT MONEY LAUNDERING, SAYS SINGAPORE MINISTER