Loan shark takedown: Cyber cops sink teeth into predatory lending racket with jaw-dropping rates

Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau (CCIB) police successfully dismantled a predatory lending scheme run by an unscrupulous loan shark who charged exorbitant interest rates of 50% and coerced borrowers into extreme measures to repay their debts.

The operation, which took place today, was led by the head of the CCIB, along with his team, who executed a search warrant in Trang province, leading to the arrest of 38 year old Thaweesak.

The raid on a house in the Mueang district of Trang province uncovered evidence of a ruthless loan operation. Thaweesak had been running a lending business that far exceeded legal interest rate limits, charging a daily interest of 60 baht on a 1,000 baht loan without any reduction of the principal amount until the entire sum was repaid.

For a 30-day loan of 1,000 baht, the borrower would have to pay an additional 40 baht per day, culminating in a total repayment of 1,200 baht at the end of the period. He also offered a 10-day loan option, where the repayment would end up at the same total of 1,200 baht.

Related news

The police investigation revealed Thaweesak’s predatory practices, which included the use of personal Facebook profiles to solicit customers and select those with clear employment and income sources. He only provided loans to customers with a significant number of friends on Facebook, over 100, to ensure credibility.

The loan agreements were unilaterally written by the borrowers themselves, which also stipulated that in case of default, they consented to be publicly shamed on social media or prosecuted without the right to sue Thaweesak.

Defaulters threatened

Some borrowers were even pushed to declare that they would allow family defamation or resort to sex work to repay their debts. These humiliating confessions were recorded on video and sent to Thaweesak via messaging platforms, which he kept as leverage and threatened to post online as a means to pressure defaulters.

Thaweesak was also found to be part of a network of loan sharks who operated Facebook groups that screened potential customers to avoid being defrauded.

Thaweesak’s arrest, other loan sharks began to leave these groups and shut them down, fearing repercussions. The evidence collected suggested that Thaweesak had been operating for several years before his apprehension.

The police have charged Thaweesak with running an unlicensed personal loan business, lending money at interest rates exceeding the 15% per annum limit set by law, in violation of the regulations on usury. Additionally, he is accused of violating debt collection laws by posting photos, identity cards, and videos of debtors on Facebook to shame them, which is also against the law regarding debt collection practices.

Thaweesak is now in custody and will be processed by the local police for legal proceedings. The crackdown on this loan shark serves as a stark warning to others operating similar illegal lending schemes and highlights the commitment of the authorities to protect consumers from financial exploitation, reported KhaoSod.

Crime NewsThailand News

Nattapong Westwood

Nattapong Westwood is a Bangkok-born writer who is half Thai and half Aussie. He studied in an international school in Bangkok and then pursued journalism studies in Melbourne. Nattapong began his career as a freelance writer before joining Thaiger. His passion for news writing fuels his dedication to the craft, as he consistently strives to deliver engaging content to his audience.

Related Articles