3 Indians nabbed in Saraburi for suspected illegal lending
The ongoing nationwide registration of debtors seeking government help over their debt burden led to the arrest of three foreign nationals suspected of involvement in illegal lending on Saturday.
Local administrative authorities in Saraburi province held three Indian nationals at a market in Sao Hai district after they were reported to have lent money illegally to vendors there, Interior Ministry permanent secretary Suttipong Juljarern said.
The three reportedly talked suspiciously to vendors at different stalls in the market. They could not produce their passports when requested, so they were detained and handed over to police, he added.
The authorities in Sao Hai district had obtained a tip-off from some debtors who had registered for government debt relief.
Suttipong said on Friday that the Interior Ministry was serious about tackling the issue of illegal lending, which also involves local influential figures. He told local administrative officials, from village heads to provincial governors, to closely monitor illegal activities and take legal action against those responsible.
The permanent secretary also advised people with debt burden stemming from illegal lending to register with the Interior Ministry for government help.
Nationwide registration of debtors under the programme began on Friday, with a total of 22,090 registrants from all 77 provinces of the country on the first day.
The registration is part of the government's efforts to tackle the issue of illegal lending at hefty interest rates. Many debtors who had failed to repay their debts were reportedly threatened or assaulted by loan sharks.
Most of the registrations – 21,001 – were made online, through the website of the Interior Ministry’s Department of Provincial Administration. The remaining 1,089 registrations were made in person at district offices across the country.
On the first day, the registrations involved a total of 11,539 creditors with debt totalling 935.31 million baht.
Bangkok saw the most registrations with 1,529 debtors, followed by Songkhla (959 debtors), Nakhon Si Thammarat (910), Nakhon Ratchasima (822), and Samut Prakan (572).