2 Chinese and 17 Thais arrested for illegal money lending apps

Photo via ทับหลัง

On Thursday, Thai police reported the arrests of two Chinese citizens and 17 Thais for operating several illegal money lending applications charging interest rates of 2,080 percent per year.

The Center for Countering Abuse by Loan Sharks of the Royal Thai Police investigated more than 40 illegal money lending applications after numerous victims filed complaints in the last 12 months.

The police reported that the two main applications lending money to victims were named “Self Service” and “Wallet for You to Borrow.”

Inside these applications, users could find links to over 40 related apps that allowed them to borrow money. The apps charged interest of 40 percent per week or 2,080 percent per year. The loan sharks would make a call or send a threatening message to expose the personal information of debtors who missed repayments.

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According to Thai media, Chinese investors were behind the operation. Over 1.5 billion baht was found in circulation from the Self Service application and about one billion baht in the Wallet for You to Borrow application. More than 30 bank accounts were used for money laundering.

The masterminds behind the apps would launder the money by spending it on cryptocurrency, computers, and other various products and services.

Twenty-two suspects were found involved in the application, 19 of whom were arrested in Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Payao, Chiang Rai, Chon Buri, and Prachuap Kiri Khan provinces. Two Chinese citizens tried to flee the country but the police caught them first. Three suspects are still at large.

The officers seized five bank accounts amounting to 5.3 million baht, three computers, two mobile phones, four sim cards, one internet router, and three debit cards.

The 19 suspects have been charged with three counts…

  • Section 5 of the Act of Interest on Loan from Financial Institution B.E. 2523: anyone who operates a personal loan business without permission shall be punished with imprisonment from one to five years and a fine of 100,000 to 500,000 baht.
  • Section 4 of the Excessive Interest Rate Prohibition Act B.E. 2560: anyone who collects overrated interest shall be punished with imprisonment of up to two years, a fine of up to 200,000 baht, or both.
  • Section 41 of the Debt Collection Act B.E.2558: anyone who threatens or uses violent acts which cause damage to debtors’ bodies, reputations, or properties, shall be punished with imprisonment of up to five years.

Police said they are still tracking down the three runaway loan sharks and are also investigating other illegal money-lending gangs.

Victims or anyone who has useful information about the case can contact 1599, 24 hours a day.

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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at petch@thethaiger.com.

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