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Money Lenders Arrested for Charging 60% Interest

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Loan Sharks Arrested for Charging 60% Interest, Threatening Borrowers

Crime Suppression Police have arrested 34 members of nine money lenders networks that allegedly tricked people into paying 60% monthly interest on borrowed money.

On top of charging exorbitant interest rates, the money lenders (loan sharks) are accused of using physical intimidation and the seizure of property from people unable to make the high-interest payments on time.

The 34 suspects were members of nine hard money lenders networks in Khon Kaen, Udon Thani, Nakhon Phanom and Nong Khai provinces.

They were linked to three major hard money lenders based in Ratchaburi, Nakhon Pathom and Kanchanaburi.

Over 50,000 business cards and ledgers with detailed lists of debtors were impounded by the Crime Suppression Police, along with four cars, 12 motorcycles, 21 mobile phones, 17 bank accounts used for illegal lending.

Money Lenders Rate of 2%

People who were unable to obtain state-funded assistance were lured into using lending services with high-interest rates by the loan sharks allegedly using legal loopholes.

People in the community received business cards offering lending services and giving telephone contact information.

Those calling these numbers were told the interest rate was just 2% and they were the best hard money lenders.

The borrowers were duped into signing loan contracts and later learned the 2% interest rate was actually 2% per day or 60% per month. This rate was far in excess of the legal rate, police said.

Three major loan operators have already been arrested by police. Asset confiscation and tax measures will be taken against them.

Tax measures and asset forfeiture would be coordinated between the Revenue Department and the Anti-Money Laundering Office by the police.

In addition, loan sharks were warned not to distribute leaflets or cards announcing their services through their employees. Once all names and numbers have been investigated by the police, those behind the usury would be brought to justice.

Loan Sharks Used Line App

Several illegal money lenders used the Line chat application in the central region to send messages to people. Police and other agencies would track and arrest these individuals, he said.

One victim, Uthai Saensila, 64, told authorities that her husband was a police officer who died in 2011. She rented a home for herself and her mentally ill son. She paid 1,000 baht a month for rent and another 1,000 baht a month for water and electricity.

She made a living selling boiled sweet corn, and it cost her 700 baht to 1,000 baht to purchase basic ingredients every day.

Having no money to feed her family, she turned to private money lenders services, borrowing 5,000 baht each from four lenders for a total of 20,000 baht.

In total, she was required to pay back 25,000 baht, paying 250 baht a day to each lender. The loans had to be repaid within 24 days.

On Feb 16, a loan shark gang debt collector came to her house in the morning to get his daily payment, but she didn’t have the cash. The man threatened to physically assault her and said he would sell her refrigerator.

Frightened she filed a complaint with the local police station as she didn’t want the debt collector to take her refrigerator.

Police said any persons indebted to loan sharks and threatened by debt collectors should immediately seek help from their local police station.

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