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Northeast residents ‘driven to suicide’ by loan sharks

May 09. 2017
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By The Nation

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Several people in the Northeast have committed suicide after being squeezed by loan sharks and signing away their plots of land, according to local residents.

“Some of my neighbours got so sad over their financial problems that they fell sick and died. Some others hanged themselves,” Bua-sorn Tongsuwan, a resident from Nakhon Phanom province, said on Tuesday.

Bua-sorn said she borrowed Bt130,000 from a loan shark in 2011 but was told to sign a contract to sell her land plot along with right of redemption. The contract required her to pay monthly interests until she could pay the principal sum.

“The following year, I saved enough money for redemption but I was told the moneylender was on overseas trips. I was asked to simply keep paying monthly interest,” Bua-sorn said, “By 2014, I found out that I’d already paid this loan shark Bt550,000”.

This woman was speaking as Wittaya Deemee, a local leader, brought her and several other victims of loan sharks to Bangkok to air their grievances.

Their complaints were submitted to the Justice Ministry’s deputy permanent secretary Dusadee Arawuit, who pledged to assign a specialist from the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) to look into their cases.

Wittaya said loan sharks had exploited victims in many Northeast provinces, with many more victims in Roi Et, Sakon Nakhon and Chaiyaphum. “We lodged a complaint before, but relevant authorities have so far been able to mediate only in some cases. So we have to ask for help again,” he said.

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