Shark warning – illegal Chinese money lenders nailed in Pattaya

Sixteen Chinese nationals suspected of running an illegal online money-lending business were arrested during a police raid in Pattaya on Wednesday.

Following a tipoff, police and immigration officers in Pattaya’s Bang Lamung district, raided a three-storey townhouse at around 3pm on Wednesday.

The officers were given information that a gang of foreign nationals were using the house as their operational base, providing illegal loans to clients in Hong Kong.

When police busted into the premises, they found 16 Chinese nationals, hard at work inside. They had not yet overstayed their visas, but were lending money to clients in Hong Kong at interest rates as high as 50%.

A large amount of tech was seized, including desktop computers, a notebook, a copying machine, around 20 mobile phones and numerous documents connected with illegal money-lending.

An investigation found the loan sharks had entered the country on tourist visas Chon Buri Police Chief Maj Gen Kitthanet Thanananthaweesin said the gang had entered Thailand six months ago and had repeatedly changed accommodation to avoid being apprehended.

Hundreds of millions of Hong Kong dollars were involved, said Kitthanet.

During questioning, the suspects confessed they had taken Thailand as a base to run their business as it was far from China, but not to far. Travel and accommodation costs and other expenses were low.

Licensed money lenders who outside the banking system are common in Hong Kong, a time immemorial. They provide an alternative source of financing for individuals and companies. Hong Kong people are more susceptible than most to such lending scams as the lending environment in the city is flexible and often unconventional. The main differences between these lenders and licensed operators are the penalties for default. In Hing Kong proper, extreme violence can result for any failure to pay.

The suspects are being held in police custody at Pattaya police station for working in the country without permission. They will soon be handed over to Hong Kong authorities to face charges relating to illegal money-lending.


SOURCE Bangkok Post


Crime News

Jon Whitman

Jon Whitman is a seasoned journalist and author who has been living and working in Asia for more than two decades. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Jon has been at the forefront of some of the most important stories coming out of China in the past decade. After a long and successful career in East sia, Jon is now semi-retired and living in the Outer Hebrides. He continues to write and is an avid traveller and photographer, documenting his experiences across the world.

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