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Commercial crime cases up 55%, others decline in first half of 2015

COMMERCIAL crimes in Singapore, led by online scams, increased significantly in the first six months of this year from a year ago, even as other offences including violent/serious property crimes, thefts and housebreaking cases declined.

The Singapore Police Force (SPF) on Monday said 16,575 crime cases were recorded in the first half of 2015, up 6.7 per cent from the same period in 2014.

Commercial crimes jumped 55.3 per cent to 3,893 in the first half of 2015.

Within this crime class, "cheating involving e-commerce" and scams such as "credit-for-sex" and "Internet love" were the key categories that saw a large increase.

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David Chew, director of the Commercial Affairs Department, said: "The growing trend of online crime is a cause for concern. While the police will do all it can to investigate, deter and disrupt the activities of these criminals, the public has an important role to play.

"Online transactions may be convenient, but the public should always be alert and exercise due diligence when engaging in online transactions to avoid falling victim to scammers. Some scammers may even be linked to a criminal syndicate operating overseas.

"It pays to be cautious, especially if a tempting offer sounds too good to be true. The police will continue with our public education efforts to raise public awareness on the modus operandi of these scammers."

Violent/serious property crimes (-44.4 per cent), housebreaking and related offences (-13.3 per cent), thefts (-3.6 per cent), as well as crimes against persons (-0.4 per cent) all recorded declines.

The only other category of offences that also saw a rise was miscellaneous crimes, which climbed 5.8 per cent to 2,354 cases in the first half.

Said Tan Hung Hooi, senior assistant commissioner of police and director of the SPF's Public Affairs Department: "The unlicensed moneylending and harassment situation has been improving steadily. Housebreaking and violent/serious property crime cases have also decreased significantly.

"However, the increase in commercial crimes involving e-commerce transactions and scams is a concern. The police will step up public education efforts to warn the public against such crimes."