Wanted survey on online loan sharks

The Justice Department has been tasked with investigating illegal money lending based on apps operated by gangs charging exorbitant interest rates and using standover tactics to collect debts.

More than 20,000 people have complained that they have been victims of these online loan sharks.

A request for assistance was filed with the ministry yesterday by a group led by Juthathip Jutpattanakul. The letter, addressed to Minister of Justice Somsak Thepsutin, was delivered to the Minister’s Secretary, Thanakrit Chitarirat.

Mr Thanakrit said that many people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic have been tricked into using money lending apps.

These loan sharks generally used three stratagems.

First, they offered a loan of 10,000 baht, but borrowers had to send them 2,000 baht first before receiving the loan.

After sending the 2,000 baht advance payments, applications were closed.

Second, the borrowers requested a loan of 4,000 baht, and the lender immediately deducted 1,200 baht from the loan principal as the first payment.

Third, if borrowers did not repay on time, lenders would post messages online denouncing them, embarrassing them and their families, the minister’s secretary said.

“Operations using these illegal money lending apps violate several laws, including the creation of financial institutions without authorization, public fraud, extortion and the introduction of false information into a computer system,” he said. he declares.

The Special Investigations Department said it will collect complaints filed with the police and the ministry will coordinate with the Anti-Money Laundering Bureau to confiscate the assets of those involved in illegal loan applications. silver.

An initial investigation has already revealed that more than 300 money-lending apps are in use, all charging exorbitant interest rates, Mr Thanakrit said.

Ms Juthathip said the damage to the victims amounted to more than one billion baht. Some people had quickly accumulated debts of over 1 million baht through illegal app-based money lending services.

Most of the lenders were Chinese, Malaysian or Burmese nationals, she said.

Sataporn Dasri, 34, a vendor at Bang Sri Muang market in Nonthaburi, said she first borrowed 8,000 baht through a money lending app she installed on her mobile phone.

After that, other apps offered her loans and she borrowed money from three more of them, amounting to 40,000 baht.

There were links to other loan apps and she borrowed money from them as well, 1,000 to 2,000 baht each time.

To date, she had borrowed money through 17 apps and owed them around 300,000 baht in total, although she had only received 100,000 baht in loans.