More rules are being proposed to crack down on people who allow SIM card usage as a means of committing crimes

Following the quadrupling of SIM card abuse incidents in a mere two years, stricter legislation aimed at individuals who facilitate SIM card misuse have been proposed. On March 7, the Law Enforcement and Other Matters Bill was read aloud for the first time in Parliament. It suggested giving the police more authority to prosecute anyone who permit the illegal use of local SIM cards. From 5,867 in 2021 to 23,519 in 2023, the number of local mobile lines used in scams and other cybercrimes increased.


In these kinds of situations, the sum lost nearly tripled, rising from $137 million in 2021 to $384 million in 2023. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), it is difficult for the police to bring charges against those who give away their SIM cards or disclose their personal information to third parties so that it can be used to apply for SIM cards. These people, who MHA has labeled “irresponsible registrants,” usually assert ignorance. Because present rules require the police to prove that these careless registrants had deliberately handed up their SIM cards for illegal reasons or knew that their SIM cards will be used for criminal activities, the authorities are unable to punish them.


MHA went on to say that con artists have been exploiting local cell lines to build up messaging accounts on websites like WhatsApp in order to spread frauds, as well as to accept scam money through PayNow. In 2023, victims of scams lost $651.8 million, and over 46,000 cases were reported—a record high.
1,329 local mobile lines were utilized in unauthorized moneylending in 2023; these lines have also been employed in other crimes. The Bill suggests that three categories of offenders be the focus of offenses, including careless registrants and dishonest retailers.

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