Deputy National Police Chief Surachate Hakparn shows a pile of business cards used by a loan shark, during Thursday’s press conference in Khon Kaen. (Photo: Chakrapan Natanri)
KHON KAEN: Police arrested members of nine illegal money-lending rings in four northeastern provinces in a crackdown on loan sharking.
The gangsters are accused of charging exorbitant interest rates, physically intimidating and seizing property from people unable to make the high payments on time.
Deputy National Police Chief Surachate Hakparn gave details of the raids on Thursday.
He said 34 suspects had been arrested. They were members of nine illegal loan rings in Khon Kaen, Udon Thani, Nakhon Phanom and Nong Khai provinces with links to three major loan sharks based in Ban Pong district in Ratchaburi, Kamphaeng Saen district in Nakhon Pathom and Muang district in Kanchanaburi.
Among the suspects, 18 worked for four networks in Khon Kaen, 9 for two networks in Udon Thani, one for one network in Nakhon Phanom and six for two networks in Nong Khai.
Arresting officers seized four cars, 12 motorcycles, 21 cell phones, 17 bank accounts used for illegal loan services, more than 50,000 business cards and ledgers with detailed debtor lists, a said Pol Lt Gen Surachate.
These gangs used loopholes to trick people who did not have access to state financial assistance into using loan services that charged excessive interest rates.
Business cards offering money lending services and phone numbers were distributed in the communities. When people called these numbers, they were told the interest rate was only 2%. Borrowers were required to sign loan contracts and soon learned the interest rate was 2% per day, or 60% per month, which was well above the legal rate, Pol Lt Gen Surachate said.
The police informal lending crackdown team had obtained information on the people behind the illegal networks, Lt. Gen. Surachate told reporters.
“The police have already arrested the three main loan operators. Tax and asset confiscation measures will be taken against them,” he said.
The police would coordinate with the Revenue Department and the Anti-Money Laundering Bureau in implementing asset forfeiture and tax measures,’ he said.
He warned loan sharks who force their employees to distribute cards and leaflets advertising their services to cease their activities. The police investigated all names and numbers and reprimanded those responsible for the wear.
In the Central Plains region, some illegal money lenders used the online chat app to send messages to people, cyber crime law enforcement and other agencies would track and arrest these operators, he said. -he declares.
Pol Lt Gen Surachate led senior police officers to visit a victim in a rented house in Muang district of Khon Kaen.
Uthai Saensila, 64, told them her husband was a police officer who died in 2011. She was renting a house for herself and her 29-year-old son, who suffered from mental illness. It cost her 1,000 baht a month for rent and another 1,000 baht for water and electricity.
She made a living selling boiled sweet corn and it cost her between 700 and 1,000 baht a day just to buy the basic ingredients.
She found she didn’t have enough money to feed her family, so she turned to money lending services, borrowing 5,000 baht from each of four lenders, making a total of 20,000 baht. baht. She had to repay them 25,000 baht in total, with payments of 250 baht per day to each lender. Loans were to be repaid within 24 days.
“On February 16, a debt collector working for Bang Boss came to my house in the morning to get the daily payment, but I didn’t have the money. The man threatened to physically assault me and said that he would sell my refrigerator.
“He was scared. I filed a complaint at the Muang police station because I didn’t want the debt collector to take my fridge,” she said.
Pol Lt Gen Surachate said people under the influence of loan sharks and threatened by debt collectors should immediately seek help from the police.
Uthai Saensila, 64, a victim of loan sharking, told senior police on Thursday about his troubles with illegal money lending services, at his rented house in Muang district, Khon Kaen province. (Photo: Chakrapan Natanri)