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Thousands pawn valuables to cover back to school costs



PHUKET: Phuket’s pawn brokers said transactions on May 10 totalled nearly 12 million baht, as families pawned valuables to cover their children’s school costs.

Phuket City Municipality Pawnshop representative Apirat Chaiyakul said transactions between May and June are expected to increase by as much as 30 per cent over last year.

Mr Apirat said his store will do around 180mn baht in total transactions this year, mostly with items such as gold jewelry, watches, TVs and cameras.

“In order to help parents who need money for their child’s education, we are thinking of implementing a discounted interest rate policy for this demographic,” Mr Apirat said. “The customers would bring the school fee receipt and would only get a one per cent interest rate, down from our current 1.25 per cent rate.”

Nida Sengsuda, together with her six-year-old granddaughter, Kuntida Maimung, was one of those customers at the Phuket City Municipality Pawnshop.

“She is studying at Kanchanawat Witthaya and the total expense per term is about 13,000 baht,” Ms Nida said. “We have to pay twice a year and her mother doesn’t have enough money, so I have brought my gold here.”

“We do this twice a year, every year, as we cannot earn enough money by the time we have to pay for the school terms and other expenses. Normally, we try our best to get enough money to buy our gold back within a few months,” she added.

Another woman, who wished to remain nameless, echoed Ms Nida’s comments.

“I have three children, six, 10, and 15 years old,” she said. “In the past few years, I’ve earned enough to support them at school, around 40,000 baht, but now that they’re older I need more money. I am working a freelance job, so I cannot guarantee my income,” she added.

“When I had money, I bought gold items so I could pawn them if I ever needed it quickly. I’ve always gotten the gold back on time because I also need to show off to my family when I go back to my home town.”

Every year, the Phuket City Municipality Pawnshop seizes approximately two million baht worth of items from those who cannot afford to buy their things back.

“It’s not much out of the 12mn baht in trading that we do,” Mr Apirat said. “Most [of the seized items] come from teenagers who pawn for smaller amounts. The pawned items are then put on sale every second Saturday of the month.”

— Kongleaphy Keam


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