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52 people in Bangkok arrested for alleged involvement in illegal loan operation

Caitlin Ashworth

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52 people in Bangkok arrested for alleged involvement in illegal loan operation | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand
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Thai immigration police arrested 52 people who were allegedly involved in an illegal loan shark operation using a smartphone application called “Speedwallet” to provide loans with interest rates higher than the legal limit.

Police had received complaints from several of the application’s customers. Speedwallet provided loans of 5,000 baht to 20,000 baht and collected interest rates of 12% to 15% each week, police say. The legal limit is 15% each year.

“Further investigation also showed that they had previously allegedly run eight applications before Speedwallet and had more than 5,000 customers.”

One customer told police that anyone who failed to repay their debt would be harassed with several phone calls.

Police raided a home in Bangkok’s Wangthonglang district, arresting 5 Chinese nationals and a Singaporean national allegedly ran the operation. The other 46 people arrested allegedly worked as debt collectors.

“The company allegedly hired several Thai staff as debt collectors, with a salary of 12,000 baht per month.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Thursday, February 4, 2021 at 3:23 pm

    12 percent on a B5000 loan in a week seems fair to me.
    Loan sharks lend to people that no bank will lend to. I consider it a service.
    If some woman has had her electricity cut off because she did not pay a bill, and her kids want to eat hot food, loans such as these are welcome.
    The interest is only B600 on a B5000 loan, and it is easy to pick up.

    • Avatar

      Michael

      Friday, February 5, 2021 at 12:31 am

      Are you joking?

      If you already have no money to buy food for your kids how are you going to pay 600 Baht interest?

    • Avatar

      Michael

      Friday, February 5, 2021 at 5:09 am

      Mr Toby, Are you trying to inform readers that there is nothing wrong with this loan sharking scheme?

      In your given example, a very poor Thai, single family, financially desperate, head of household mother with children to feed borrows 5,000 baht from very aggressive people.

      You are aware that her interest on the loan is 600 baht each week which you say “is easy to pick up.”

      If same family cannot afford electricity and food and have little to no income, where is the mother going to get 5,000 baht to repay the loan? And no doubt each day, the destitute mother struggles to find even 600 baht to pay for daily necessities like food, medical / health needs / laundry / public transportation and many other things.

      Then the mother, has to deal with non compassionate “private debt collectors’ who essentially are learning on the job, and may even threaten the mother with words of violence to make the payment.

      Paying the minimum 600 baht payment each week for one year, she will have paid 31,200 baht. This is over 600 percent interest.

      Can you even begin to understand the daily fears, stresses, feelings of failure, sadness that the mother has in your example?

      I think not, Mr Toby.

      You are indeed clueless to the daily struggles of the very poor.

      I have only lived in Thailand 3 years, but have personally known many Thai families that struggle to find an extra 600 baht each week. I have given many different families hundreds of dollars in totality each year that I am here. These are poor people on the street, and have generously tipped to a house cleaner mother in similar situation that you describe, sometimes food cart vendors, people washing my car, etc.

      Extreme loan sharking needs to be actively addressed and eliminated.

    • Avatar

      chupapi

      Friday, February 5, 2021 at 7:55 pm

      you are nuts

  2. Avatar

    James Pate

    Thursday, February 4, 2021 at 4:52 pm

    Last time I checked, the legal limit on credit cards is 18% and, 28% on unsecured personal loans, compounded annually. Loan sharking is a pernicious business. What many of these borrowers need is personal financial and budgeting education. They’re not going to get that from loan sharks. If someone really needs 5000 baht and has nothing to pawn, they need some serious counselling. Yes, these usurious lenders broke the law and they most probably employ knee-breakers. They must be punished. However, I have heard of much worse.

    • Avatar

      Slugger

      Thursday, February 4, 2021 at 5:10 pm

      TIT

  3. Avatar

    Mr cynic

    Thursday, February 4, 2021 at 6:28 pm

    They are no worst than the payday loan companies and if they were not needed they would soon go out of buissness.
    mafias/organised crime are not without their uses.
    I used to live in triad controlled area of a big city many years ago and street crime was non existent because of it.the same could not be said of the police controlled area of the city.

    • Avatar

      Toby Andrews

      Thursday, February 4, 2021 at 11:09 pm

      Exactly, loan sharks are lovable people really.
      If the registration fee, taxes and processing fee is added to the loans banks make, the interest is quite high.
      Er, I was a debt collector once myself -a legal one.

  4. Avatar

    albert

    Thursday, February 4, 2021 at 9:26 pm

    an so when they will stop the SHOPPING MALL app, a classic PONZI scheme???

  5. Avatar

    Sima

    Friday, February 5, 2021 at 1:20 pm

    They are scum who take advantage of the poor. They know full well that a large percentage of those wanting these loans are desperate and unable to repay these loans quickly. Yes you could argue that the loan taker has the option of not taking these loans but, as I said, they are often desperate and see no other way out.

    • Avatar

      Remi

      Monday, February 8, 2021 at 2:21 pm

      I thought they were the same guys, am I wrong?

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

Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Bangkok

Royal Thai Police accused of “ticket” promotion system to buy senior positions

Caitlin Ashworth

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Royal Thai Police accused of “ticket” promotion system to buy senior positions | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

The Royal Thai Police are being accused of using so-called “elephant tickets” to buy their way into promotions and pay their way up the police force’s chain of command. The corruption among the police force and the buying of positions without meeting the requirements for a promotion has been a longtime problem, according to the Bangkok Post.

The “elephant ticket” issue was recently brought to light by an opposition MP at a censure debate who said it fast tracked the promotion system and allowed some people who were unqualified and undeserving to raise their rank. Some Thais have protested the “elephant ticket.” Many gathered in front of the Royal Thai Police headquarters in Bangkok last week, including one person who dressed up as an elephant.

At the censure debate on February 19, Move Forward Party MP Rangsiman Rome called out PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, who chairs the Police Commission overseeing the Royal Thai Police, and said the prime minister allowed the “elephant ticket” promotions. Prayut later said there were problems within the police force and that he would handle it.

Police who want a promotion need a ticket, which is basically just a reference or a stamp of approval from a senior officer or even a politician or business person. To get an “elephant ticket,” some can pay for the ticket. A source told the Post that positions for police superintendents cost between 5 to 10 million baht.

Others can get a ticket by doing favours for their superior or even just serving their superior for a long time, sources told the Bangkok Post. The higher the position a senior officer has, the more tickets they have to give out.

To read the full special report by the Bangkok Post, click HERE.

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Crime

Woman talks about the life of a Thai “pretty” after model’s death

Caitlin Ashworth

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Woman talks about the life of a Thai “pretty” after model’s death | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Instagram/ wawa_manika

Following the news of a model who died after working as a hostess at a Bangkok party, Thai media spoke with a woman, known in Thailand as a “pretty,” about what it’s like to work in the lucrative, yet shady Thai model entertainment industry where many work as hostesses at parties and events that often involve alcohol, drugs and sex work.

“Miss Cake” told the Thai news outlet Daily News that pretties are sent to parties by “modelling agencies.” The parties are even categorized depending on if drugs or sex are involved. Apparently the parties are either “En-Up,” “En-V” or just “En” for entertainment. En-Up means drugs are involved, while En-V means the pretties will offer sexual services. Other pretties work at promotional events like auto shows. Since nightclubs and other entertainment venues in Bangkok have been closed due to the pandemic, many of the parties are now held at private homes.

If a pretty is working at an En-Up party, Miss Cake says that means there will be ecstasy, known as “khanom,” the Thai word for a dessert or snack. She says good “khanom” shipped from overseas costs around 900 to 1,000 baht while the poor quality, Thai-made drugs cost 500 baht. Just about every pretty takes drugs, she says. If mixed with ketamine, Miss Cake says it can be dangerous.

Daily News spoke with Miss Cake following the death of a 33 year old Witchayaporn “Wawa” Wisetsombat who worked died in a hospital after working as a hostess at a party in Bangkok’s Chatuchak district. She had been hired by a modelling agency to serve drinks at a private party. Her younger sister told the Bangkok Post that Wawa was a product presenter and never sold sex or used narcotics. Doctors told the Post Wawa died from respiratory and blood system failure. They are still waiting for the results for a toxicology test.

The death of another model back in 2019 shed light on the abuse and danger many pretties face in the industry. 25 year old Thitima “Lunlabelle” Noraphanpiphat died from “extreme alcohol intoxication,” according to an autopsy report. Her dead body was found in the lobby of a Bangkok condominium. 6 people were found guilty for involvement in Lunlabelle’s death.

Abuse is common in the industry and many women working as pretties are often pressured into drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. The work of pretties is looked down upon in Thai society. Due to the stigma, many due not file complaints when they are abused.

SOURCE: Thai Visa

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Crime

Bangkok police raid house where model died after playing hostess

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Bangkok police raid house where model died after playing hostess | The Thaiger

Bangkok police are investigating a model’s death after raiding a Chatuchak district house where the model died after being hired as a hostess. The model, Whitchayaporn ‘Wa’ Visessombut, was hired along with other women to serve drinks and entertain guests at a private residence last Monday. Then, the next day, she died of respiratory failure after being brought unconscious to Paolo Hospital Kaset.

Investigators say they obtained a text chat history between the 33 year old model and her agent the day she was hired for the job. The chats revealed a receipt for a 30,000 baht money transfer to 4 hostesses, including Whitchayaporn, for their work. 6 other hostesses from a different agency were also hired to work the party.

Police say between 5 and 7 men were at the party along with 10 women with the use of drugs allegedly being involved.

Upon raiding the 4 storey‐high home, investigators say it featured an “unusually high wall” which stood about 2.5 metres tall. The house had security cameras but no one was home at the time of the raid. Officers say a luxury car was parked at the residence along with a BMW motorcycle.

Police say they are still are waiting for the autopsy results of the dead woman. Her relatives have already begun seeking assistance as they are afraid her case could turn out to be as complicated as that of model Thitima ‘Lunlabelle’ Noraphanpiphat, who was found dead in a similar situation back in 2019.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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