Prominent Thai loan shark arrested for illegal pawnbroking business

A 66 year old Sunthorn from the province of Nakhon Si Thammarat, known as a prominent loan shark, was arrested for running an illegal pawnbroking business, lending money with an annual interest rate of 36%. The authorities seized 31 vehicles, warning debtors that they could become criminal suspects.

Yesterday, at Na Bon Police Station in the Nakhon Si Thammarat province, Governor Khajonkiat Rakpanichmanee, along with Police Lieutenant Colonel Somchai Suetortrakul, the Police Chief of the Nakhon Si Thammarat Provincial Police, Weeraphan Sukawalli, the Na Bon District Officer, and Police Lieutenant Colonel Phuwasit Wangkaew, the Head of the Na Bon Police Station, announced the arrest of Sunthorn

The arrest came with 31 vehicles as evidence, along with 31 sets of loan documents. Sunthorn was charged with operating a credit business without a licence, establishing a pawnshop without a licence, and lending money at an interest rate higher than the law stipulates.

Sunthorn had been accepting large amounts of vehicles as collateral and granting loans with an interest rate higher than the law allows. Once he received the vehicles as collateral, he would store them at his home or nearby premises. Sunthorn built a warehouse with a corrugated iron fence to store the vehicles he accepted as collateral.

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A search warrant was granted by the Thung Song Provincial Court, which led to the discovery of 31 vehicles, consisting of pickup trucks and cars, that had been pawned. Most of these vehicles had lease agreements with credit companies. Furthermore, loan documents with vehicles as collateral were found (floating transfer sets), totalling 31 sets.

After questioning, Sunthorn confessed to running the pawnshop business for many years without obtaining permission from the registrar. He charged an interest rate of 3% per month, or 36% per annum. Charges were filed before he and the evidence were handed over to investigative officers at the Na Bon Police Station to proceed with legal action.

Financial Institution

Officials warned the public that pawning or selling vehicles that are still under hire purchase agreements could lead to charges of embezzlement, as the rightful owner of the vehicle is the financial institution or finance company that granted the loan. This means that an individual only has the right to use and benefit from the vehicle, not to claim ownership. True ownership is only granted once all payments under the hire purchase agreement have been made.

The issue of pawning vehicles still under finance is that if the pawnbroker lacks integrity or is fraudulent, they might sell the vehicle right away. They could sell it as a pawned vehicle, sell it for parts, or even export the vehicle abroad. Ultimately, the financial institution that owns the rights to the vehicle will come after you directly for damages.

This means you will still have to continue making payments for a vehicle that is no longer in your possession. Therefore, one should not pawn or sell vehicles that are still under finance outside of legal protocols, as not only could you lose the vehicle, but you could also potentially become a suspect, reported KhaoSod.

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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.

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