Connect with us


Community group helps pay off Phuket sea gypsy loans



RAWAI, PHUKET: Threats of beatings and electrocution by loan sharks have abated for scores of Moken sea gypsies since a Phuket-based community organization stepped in to help.

The ‘Poor’s Right to Develop Phuket Network’ (PRDPN) paid off debts worth more than half a million baht for 162 Rawai sea gypsies earlier this month.

Nevertheless, hundreds of residents of the sea gypsy village near Rawai Beach remain in debt and living in fear of punishment.

The loan sharks, themselves residents of the village, charge interest of up to 60 percent for loans over periods as short as 15 days.

The creditors threatened those who couldn’t pay with a punishment they called ‘2-7-2’: two kicks, seven punches and two electric shocks.

Villagers said they were forced to take out loans because on many days during the monsoon season they couldn’t go fishing, which is their usual source of income.

Sucheep Janrung, 60, said the PRDPN had repaid thousands of baht of her debts, but she still owed 3,000 baht and lived in fear of punishment.

She said she had seen people who couldn’t pay being taken away and beaten.

“One lady who sold somtam for a living came to live in the village and ended up 50,000 baht in debt,” she said.

“Some men tricked her into going to Saphan Hin with them. When she came back, she was covered in bruises.”

Mrs Sucheep said she wasn’t aware of anyone being electrocuted but feared it would happen to her if she couldn’t pay.

“Even if I die, the debt will move onto my family and they’ll have to pay,” she said.

Chalong Police in early June arrested six members of a gang who entered the same Community to collect on loans, confiscating a list of 35 debtors and 11,000 baht in cash.

Police estimate there are over 40 loan shark gangs operating on the island.

— Atchaa Khamlo


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Crime10 hours ago

VIDEO: Thieves mess with the wrong gold shop owner in northern Thailand

Thailand11 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Immigration Police to Revise Visa Extension Criteria

Expats11 hours ago

Pattaya visa legend dies of cancer

Sponsored18 hours ago

Where you can get cannabis in Bangkok

Tourism11 hours ago

Transport officials expect tens of thousands of bus travellers in Thailand during three-day weekend.

Phuket12 hours ago

Chinese tourist found dead in Phuket

Crime12 hours ago

Overstaying former pro footballer arrested for hawking lottery tickets in Thailand

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand12 hours ago

Twitter investigation discovers mass censorship & blacklisting under previous regime

Thailand12 hours ago

Brief history of the Japanese Onsen in Thailand

Patong13 hours ago

Officials say no to floating lanterns and fireworks on Patong Beach

Protests13 hours ago

Teen protestor claims police harassment

Thailand13 hours ago

Thailand’s Full Moon Party attracts 12,000 tourists

Media14 hours ago

License to own unicorn issued by LA animal care authority

Hot News14 hours ago

Eight celebrities to join Japanese tycoon in space venture around the moon

North East14 hours ago

In northeast Thailand, a pretty camping site is being offered for free

Weather15 hours ago

Flash flood warning issued for 9 provinces in southern Thailand

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11