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Social distancing violation busts Pattaya illegal loan scheme

Neill Fronde

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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

 

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19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Sunday, May 2, 2021 at 2:50 pm

    Good news for the ones that owe the money. They do not have to pay back now.
    This rate of 2.57 seem reasonable. But is it annual, or monthly?
    More information please.

  2. Avatar

    Slugger

    Sunday, May 2, 2021 at 3:25 pm

    2.57% over the legal limit, eagle eyes. Who says they dont have to pay back?

  3. Avatar

    ynwaps

    Sunday, May 2, 2021 at 4:13 pm

    Probably daily and they only borrow to very poor who need the money.

  4. Avatar

    Bigsleazypappa

    Sunday, May 2, 2021 at 4:57 pm

    My fiancé has been running a small loan business to her friends for over a year I set her up with. There’s lots of people doing it the only way they get caught is by greed. She makes enough to pay her bills and a bit left over a month.

  5. Avatar

    Robert Elliott

    Sunday, May 2, 2021 at 5:55 pm

    @Toby Andrew’s 2.57 above the legal limit. It doesn’t mention what the legal limit is.

  6. Avatar

    Frank

    Sunday, May 2, 2021 at 7:18 pm

    @toby I was thinking the same at least they get a break

  7. Avatar

    Robert Elliott

    Sunday, May 2, 2021 at 7:27 pm

    @Slugger – Why would they have to pay the loan back? It was an illegal foreign owned operation that was shut down.

  8. Avatar

    Simon Small

    Sunday, May 2, 2021 at 8:19 pm

    “2.57% over the legal limit, eagle eyes. Who says they dont have to pay back?”

    Sorry, @Slugger and @Robert Elliot, but “They were charged 2.57% interest, higher than the legal limit, …” is NOT “2.57% above / over the legal limit”.

    Note the comma(“,”), eagle eyes!

    That means it’s 2.57% over an unspecified time, which is “higher than the legal limit”.

    The legal limit is 15% per year.

    The 2.57% will very probably be PER DAY as @ynwaps said. Compound interest.

    That’s just over 1,000,000% interest per year. One million per cent (actually 1,052,903.376%).

    So if you borrow one hundred baht and don’t pay any back, after a year you owe 1,053,000 baht.

    That’s over one million baht after a year, if you borrow one hundred baht but don’t pay any interest back.

    Most borrowers never pay back the capital, only the interest, so for a loan of 100 baht they pay 20 baht per week, every week, just in interest.

    … and @toby andrews is right, @Slugger, they don’t have to pay it back but most will have already paid back far more than they borrowed.

    Who says? The law says.

  9. Avatar

    Simon Small

    Sunday, May 2, 2021 at 8:27 pm

    “My fiancé has been running a small loan business to her friends for over a year I set her up with.”

    She’s lucky to have lasted a year, @Bsp. Not because she’ll get caught, but because first she’ll lose her friends then, unless she has some hefty boyfriends, she could get very badly hurt.

    • Avatar

      Nigel

      Monday, May 3, 2021 at 1:42 pm

      Not true. I know many Thai women who loan out relatively small amounts to friends and friends of friends. Most are very reasonable in their approach and will be lenient of the person needs extra time to pay. These aren’t the type of people who send two guys around dressed in black on a motorbike to collect the interest. You should know this already!

  10. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Sunday, May 2, 2021 at 8:35 pm

    Chinese behind an illegal business in Thailand who would have guessed . It’s a cliche at this point.

  11. Avatar

    Shane

    Sunday, May 2, 2021 at 8:59 pm

    “They were charged 2.57% interest, higher than the legal limit”.

    That structure of that statement makes it very ambiguous. It states that they were charged 2.57%, which is above the legal limit (which is obviously untrue). If you remove the comma, its meaning is totally different (which is what the writer meant).

    Proofread prior to publication please.

  12. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Sunday, May 2, 2021 at 9:24 pm

    Oh, over the legal limit, and I see legal is 9.41, plus I assume it is annual.
    That is a hefty rate, but UK rates under under £1000 are 9.9 percent on a monthly payback, APR.
    I fail to see how the debtors can pay back to persons that are in jail, especially for an illegal loan.

  13. Avatar

    Simon Small

    Sunday, May 2, 2021 at 11:59 pm

    I sometimes genuinely wonder if some people her have ever been to Thailand.

    A loan shark making unsecured short term loans at 10 – 15% per year?

    Seriously?

    If you’re lucky, 10 – 15% a month.

    If you’re not so lucky, 10 – 15% a week.

    If you’re unlucky, 20% a week.

  14. Avatar

    7.62mm of darwin

    Monday, May 3, 2021 at 3:33 am

    @Simon Small – without farang tourists to rip off the police have resorted to catching criminals real ones

  15. Avatar

    James Pate

    Monday, May 3, 2021 at 6:58 am

    Simon, you’re correct. Really hard-core loan sharks lending big sums to professional gamblers and other nefarious characters may charge 20% per day.

  16. Avatar

    YNBAW

    Monday, May 3, 2021 at 11:48 am

    We need your timeline for the last 14 days.

  17. Avatar

    Tony

    Monday, May 3, 2021 at 1:59 pm

    All that will happen is that loneshark operation will sell the lone book on to another lone shark and they will recupe as much as they can they will have all there details on a computer file in China so they will come looking for there money .That’s why they are called lone Sharks,they will awlays hunt there pray,

  18. Avatar

    Simon Small

    Monday, May 3, 2021 at 2:28 pm

    “Simon, you’re correct.”

    Thanks, @James Pate. It’s not exactly inside knowledge, as 20% a week (2.57% per day) is widely reported as the going rate for many unsecured loans.

    The only thing that surprises me is that the “old hands” commenting here are unaware of it.

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Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Pattaya. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

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.

Crime

Police step up border patrols and checkpoints, arresting 49 illegal migrants today

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Stock photo via Flickr

Police are stepping up border checkpoints and patrolling as 49 more illegal migrants from Myanmar are arrested today. In the North, Trairong Piewpan, deputy commissioner of Provincial Police Region 6, says checkpoints have been set up along the roads, waterways and natural foot trails in an effort to block all possible channels for illegal border crossings from Myanmar. In Songkhla, a southern border province, combined police units were deployed heavily among the mountainous areas of the border with Malaysia, to stop border crossings.

The border crossings bring fears of the Indian and South African Covid-19 variants, as well as more infections of the original virus. Yesterday, 10 Burmese job seekers were arrested after crossing over the Malaysian border and into Thailand. And, today, 49 illegal Burmese migrants and 3 guides were arrested near a border village in Lat Ya province. None of them were carrying travel documents.

Soldiers in PPE suits took their temperatures, with none displaying a fever. The illegal border crossers said they had walked 3 days along natural trails from Dawei to the Thai border. They were to pay 13,000-20,000 baht each in brokerage fees for jobs in Thailand, but say they had not made a payment yet. The 3 guides were charged with human trafficking as well as illegally entering the Kingdom and violating the emergency decree. The others were charged with the same offenses minus the human trafficking. Police say they were given food and water before being handed to the Muang district police to face legal action on the charges detailed above.

It has not been disclosed whether the migrants were tested for the Covid-19 virus, but we will update the information if more is given concerning the migrants’ virus status.

Meanwhile, Thailand reported 1,630 new Covid-19 cases and 22 coronavirus-related deaths today. There are now 29,376 active Covid-19 cases. Since the start of the pandemic last year, the CCSA has reported 85,005 Covid-19 cases and 421 Covid-related deaths.

 

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World

Third supsect arrested in bomb attack of Maldives ex-president

Neill Fronde

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Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed survived an assasination attempt May 6. (Via Flickr - Presidency Maldives)

After a bomb attack in the Maldives attempting to assassinate former president Mohamed Nasheed, police have arrested a third suspect. The Manhunt has continued in the Maldivian capital city of Malé as the police appealed to the public for any information they may have about another suspect. Religious extremists have been blamed for the attempt on the former president’s life.

Police did not release any details about the person that they arrested other than to confirm that they believed him to be connected to the bombing attack on Thursday. The bomb had been attached to a motorcycle that was parked near the Maldives ex-president’s car, and the owner of that motorcycle along with the second man was already arrested yesterday.

Mohamed Nasheed was not killed by the bomb detonation as he walked to his car, but he was seriously injured and has been hospitalized since the blast. The explosion injured 3 other people including one British national. The ex-president is now the Maldives parliament speaker and his family has tweeted updates about his condition since the bomb blast. He was moved from requiring life-support to intensive care yesterday after removing shrapnel from the blast in a 16-hour surgery. Doctors say one stray piece just barely missed his heart.

Nasheed had been the first democratically elected president of the Maldives in 2008 after decades of one-party rule. But a military coup in 2012 overthrew the government and ended his presidency. He was widely applauded for his progressive push for democracy and climate activism. The Maldives is a collection of 1,192 coral islands with no mountains, making it the lowest nation on Earth at just 1 metre above sea level on average. Nasheed’s pleas for action become a powerfully effective voice against climate change that could submerge the entire country he led.

Officials from the ex-president’s Maldivian Democratic Party have accused religious extremists of the attack believing that it could be politically motivated. But as of now, no group has claimed responsibility. The Maldives is mostly Muslim and has had problems in the past with an Islamic State recruiter injuring 12 Chinese tourists with a homemade bomb in 2007 and sending local recruits to Syria in 2019.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Crime

Murder of Thai wife may have been 2nd attempt by US man

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Jason Balzar, pictured with his wife before he murdered her, and during his arrest. (via uk.granthshala.com)

The American man accused of the murder of his Thai wife in Chiang Mai has now confessed to the brutal crime. And it may not have been the first time he tried to kill her. The 32 year old man, who was a computer programmer in the United States, admitted that he killed his wife while she was 3-months pregnant. Jason Matthew Balzar is now in custody at Muang Nan police station and has reportedly told police that he stabbed his wife Pitchaporn “Som O” Kidchob in the chest with a knife while she slept.

Police said after stabbing his wife, Jason put her body in a plastic bag and dumped it on the side of the road on Ban Srikerd-Samun Road, about 10 kilometres from their rented home at Tambon Chaiyasathan in the Muang district. A crime re-enactment was held at their home, a common occurrence in Thailand for police to piece together criminal acts and record details.

The murder was not Jason’s first accusation of violent crime, with details surfacing of his 2019 conviction for threatening to murder a woman in the US. There is unconfirmed speculation that the victim of that attack was the same Thai wife murder victim, but in Colorado domestic violence cases withhold the names of victims.

He was sentenced to 2 years of probation after an attack in Longmont, Colorado that was originally charged as attempted murder, but lessened due to a technicality. According to the arrest report, Jason attacked her after she refused sex, hitting her head and pointing a gun at her, which fired near her head. He was again arrested for violating his probation by possessing 73 guns in December 2020.

After confessing to killing his pregnant Thai wife, Jason is being charged with the murder and with concealing her body. The American man claimed that he decided to kill her in her sleep because he was upset that she wanted to leave him. The couple had plenty of rough patches with frequent arguments being common in their household.

The victim’s family don’t believe the murder was a sudden crime of passion. Her sister and mother said they have often seen him carrying a knife.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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