Loan shark gang arrested in Phuket

PHUKET: Officers arrested a Phuket loan shark and his four henchmen in a raid on Saturday afternoon.

Armed with a search warrant, officers entered a house in Suanluang Chaofa housing project in Soi Sermsab to arrest the 34-year-old alleged gang leader Sakkarin Saleh for running a loan shark operation.

Four other men were also arrested: Abdulloh Jeleh, 29; Muhammad Soming, 23; and Kanawuth Lateh, 20, all from Pattani; and Surin Siboo, 34, from Songkhla.

“Our investigation team learned that Mr Sakkarin and his men had been operating in Phuket for a few months. Mr Sakkarin used to have a loan shark business in Trat,” said Maj Roongsak Maichandee of the Region 8 Police Crime Suppression Division.

“The men would threaten their customers if they did not pay on time.”

Police raided the house while the men were doing their book keeping.

“Mr Sakkarin told us that the gang had about 30 customers who they charged 20 per cent interest, compounded monthly. The legal maximum rate to be collected on loans is set at 15 per cent,” said Maj Roongsak.

Police seized 14,060 baht, five debtor record books, four ATM cards, three bankbooks, five mobile phones, one laptop, one printer, two helmets, five backpacks, one motorbike without a licence plate and one pick-up truck registered in Trat.

“They were all charged with operating and assisting an illegal loan business and charging illegal interest rates. They have all confessed to the charges against them,” Maj Roongsak said.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong

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