The Economic Crime Suppression Division (ECSD) arrested the loan sharks, a 42 year old woman named Natthajaree Muangthong and a 43 year old man named Thanachai Ruangphueng. The individuals were accused of “conducting unauthorised personal lending and charging interest rates exceeding those permitted by law.” They were arrested during a raid on a house in Khlong Luang district, in Khlong Nueng sub-district.
According to Bangkok Post, the suspects had been running illegal money lending services with interest rates as high as 304% per year. An ECSD commander said that Those who failed to pay their loans or delayed payments were denounced and intimidated online.
In early March, several victims sought assistance from the Debt Offender Suppression Centre and the Royal Thai Police. The victims reported a group of individuals using Facebook to advertise money lending and investment opportunities, including gold deposit schemes and luxury brand products. The group allegedly charged exorbitant interest rates and harassed delinquent borrowers by posting defamatory content on social media. This public shaming has caused great distress to the victims who fear potential harm to their lives.
Investigations revealed that the prime suspect, Natthajaree utilised her personal Facebook account to promote loan offers and entice others to participate in the investment schemes for gold and high-end products. The police subsequently gathered evidence and obtained a search warrant for the suspects’ residence.
Upon searching the property, officers found Natthajaree and her husband, Tanachai, living in the residence. Both suspects confessed to involvement in money lending and promoting investment schemes for gold deposits and luxury items. They claimed ignorance about the interest rates exceeding those permitted by law. As a result, both individuals were handed over to ECSD officers for further legal proceedings.
The arrest of these suspects highlights the continuing issue of illegal money lending and loan sharking.
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