Singapore clamps down on SIM abuse

Dylan Bushell-Embling
02 Apr 2014
Daily News

Authorities in Singapore and Bangladesh have taken steps to cut down on the use of prepaid SIMs to perpetuate criminal activities.

Singapore's Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and regulator IDA have tightened the limit on prepaid SIM ownership, reducing the number of SIMs any single user can register from 10 to three, Channel News Asia reported.

The limitation applies even to mobile users registering pre-paid SIMs from different operators. It will only apply to new SIM registrations – existing multi-SIM users will be allowed to continue using their prepaid cards but will not be allowed to register for more.

In announcing the new restrictions, MHA and IDA said criminals are continuing to use SIMs to conduct illegal activities including unlicensed money-lending, gambling and cheating scams.

In Bangladesh, the High Court has ordered the nation's mobile operators to immediately deactivate all unregistered SIMs, according toBDNews24.

The court has also asked regulator BTRC, the Posts and Telecommunications secretary and other government officials to explain why the sale of unregistered SIMs should not be stopped, and asked the CEOs of the nation's mobile operators why they should not be held responsible for these sales.

According to a recent report, over 7 million of the 110 million SIMs in operation in Bangladesh are unregistered, in violation of Bangladeshi law.

Criminals have allegedly been using unregistered SIMs to demand extortion money or issue death threats, and each SIM is destroyed after a single use, making it hard to track down the culprits.

The report adds that the sale of unregistered SIMs also costs the government large sums in lost taxation revenue.

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