Social distancing violation busts Pattaya illegal loan scheme

PHOTO: The illegal loan service was lending up to 3 million baht a day. (via Wikimedia)

Covid-19 safety violations brought down a Chinese man and 39 Thai employees running an illegal loan operation in Pattaya. The group was arrested for offering money lending services after violating the Chon Buri Disease Control orders and emergency decree restrictions of social distancing and large gatherings. Chon Buri police raided the office building in Nongprue on Pattaya Second Road and uncovered the unlicensed loan business, leading to 40 arrests.

Each staff member’s work electronic devices were impounded and taken to the Pattaya City Police Station, with police taking in 39 mobile phones and 39 laptops along with paperwork and business documents about the operation. Wang Pei, a 33 year old Chinese man, was arrested and claimed to be a manager working for a man in China identified only as Chern for a salary of about 48,000 baht a month. His 39 Thai staff were paid 10,000 to 12,000 a month each.

According to The Pattaya News, the illegal loan scheme appeared to be calling over 100 people a day, apparently targeting people with financial problems stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic, offering cash loans. Those who are interested were added via the Line app and sent through the loan application process. They were charged 2.57% interest, higher than the legal limit, and given a short repayment period. Those who didn’t pay would be harassed by the loan service calling contacts in the borrower’s phonebook like friends, family, and bosses.

The illegal loan service was lending out about 3 million baht a day, transferred from a Chinese bank account directly to each customer. Wang Pei said he didn’t have any details or direct contact with the big boss in China. Police say the 40 members of the unlicensed loan business face charges of illegally operating a loan business and charging interest over the legal limit.

And of course, the charge that led to their downfall – gathering in a small office without proper Covid-19 social distancing measures.

SOURCE:The Pattaya News

Crime NewsPattaya News

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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