Debt Collectors in Singapore

It is no wonder that personal debt is on the rise, with Singapore once again being crowned the most expensive city in the world for seven years straight. The mean average debt of a Singaporean household is about S$55,000 as banks see more people taking out loans to fund hefty purchases like cars, houses or university education. However, a problematic debt arises when consumers struggle to make repayments. If you find yourself in a situation with a debtor who keeps making delayed payments or is unable to make repayments, the lawyers at Lions Chambers LLC can assist you in exploring available options.


Should I engage a debt recovery agency?

Usually, debtors and creditors will attempt to settle repayment issues on their own through mediation or discussion. However, the involvement of a third party, such as a lawyer or debt collection agency, can also be an effective way to recover a debt without straining relationships between friends or family.

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What constitutes unreasonable behaviour?

The Credit Collectors Association of Singapore (CCAS) has developed a code of conduct and a series of guidelines for member agencies. If debtors experience aggressive debt collectors they may file a formal complaint and begin dispute resolution proceedings. However, some debt collectors from agencies not part of the CCAS are known to resort to intimidation, threats, stalking or even vandalising a debtor’s property. This is prohibited under the Protection from Harassment Act and the Penal Code. The following is a detailed list of commonly encountered behaviour that is prohibited:


Causing injury

It is illegal for debt collectors to inflict harm on debtors. This includes anything from hitting the debtor with a fist to injuring the debtor with a weapon. If found guilty with intention to cause hurt, the offender may face up to 2 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $5000 or both. If the injuries caused are of a more serious nature (“grievous hurt”), debt collectors may be found guilty of voluntarily causing grievous hurt and as such face up to 10 years’ imprisonment, and a fine or caning. “Grievous hurt” is defined under section 320 of the Penal Code (Chapter 224) and includes injuries that cause death, permanent disfiguration of the face or head, fractures or bone dislocations and rape resulting in severe bodily pain.



Debt collectors are not allowed to commit vandalism, such as the splashing of paint, writing on the walls, pasting of collection notices or handing of banners on the debtor’s property. If convicted under the Vandalism Act, first time offenders may face a fine of up to S$2000 or imprisonment of up to 3 years which can involve caning. If not charged under the Vandalism Act, debt collectors can still be charged under the Miscellaneous Offence (Public Order and Nuisance) Act. Under section 11, notices affixed to a building or a wall constitutes a ‘nuisance’, debt collectors may face a fine of up to $1000. If property has been damaged, resulting in decreased value or usefulness of the property, debt collectors can be punished for mischief under the Penal Code. An example of this is the case of Michael Fay hat hit the global headlines back in 1994.

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Threats or intimidation

Debt collectors are not allowed to make threats or intimidate debtors into paying. It is important to note that threats made need not necessarily be verbal. Should debt collectors cause distress or alarm by using profanities, splashing paint, making threatening gestures or sending threatening messages online, it could constitute harassment under the Protection from Harassment Act. If threats to injure the debtor or destroy his assets are made, the debt collector can also be charged under the Penal Code for criminal intimidation.


Unlawful Stalking

Unlawful stalking is committed when debt collectors continuously follow or repeatedly harass the debtor, causing alarm or distress. To be charged, there must be intention or knowledge to cause harassment, alarm or distress to the victim. Recurrent following of the debtor to and from his workplace or house may be considered unlawful stalking, as will the repeated taking of photos or recordings of the debtor. Unlawful stalking can also be done in electronically when debt collector ceaselessly sends emails to the debtor. As long as there is a repeated occurrence of such behaviour, it is possible to prove that unlawful stalking has taken place. The prevalence of the incident, together with the gravity of distress, will help the court determine if the offence has been committed.

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At Lions Chambers LLC, we pride ourselves on being responsive. We understand that some problems need immediate attention, let us assist you.

Unlawful assembly

In certain circumstances, debt collectors showing up in groups of five or more can constitute an unlawful assembly. This includes situations where the group resorts to the use of criminal force, disrupts operations, attempts to remove the debtor’s belongings and harasses or prevents the debtor from leaving the premise. The penalty for being part of an unlawful assembly and taking part in their activities is a maximum imprisonment term of up to two years, a fine or both.


It is clear that while debt collectors’ conduct is not yet subject to a specific set of regulations, they still are not entitled to do as they please. Debt collectors need to abide by laws that apply to the ordinary citizen and failure to do so may result in persecution. That is why it is important to engage a trustworthy debt collection agency that will recover the debt legally if this is your preferred option. If they send debt collectors that partake in the various aforementioned unreasonable conduct, it can prolong the debt recovery process and result in a fruitless waste of money.


Can I engage a lawyer to help recover my debt?

Should you decide to engage a law firm, your lawyer may issue a Letter of Demand to the debtor in order to recover the debt. While it is not compulsory for the Letter of Demand to be drafted by a lawyer, it is better to engage one in order to demonstrate your readiness to seek legal redress. That is where we come in. The Letter of Demand will form part of a paper trail that will include messages as well as letters sent to the debtor, should you decide to initiate legal proceedings. If the debtor fails to respond to the Letter of Demand, you may want to obtain a court judgement and enforce the collection of debt in court.

How can we help you

Debt Recovery in Singapore is a delicate issue and may be too technical for you to fully understand alone. We understand that going through such an event in your life is difficult. Worry not, at Lions Chambers LLC, and we have experienced lawyers who are well versed in debt recovery in Singapore. We will be able to guide you through the process and explain to you each and every stage the matter.

Lions Chambers LLC is an established law firm in Singapore. Our team of lawyers specialise in various areas of law and will be able to assist you. Our consultations are free. Please call +65 8777 3677 or click here to WhatsApp us today.