SATURDAY, March 02, 2024

PM calls for collaboration in crackdown on illegal lending

PM calls for collaboration in crackdown on illegal lending

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin told senior government officials on Friday to strictly enforce the law against illegal lending, which he said had led to “modern-day slavery”.

Srettha, who doubles as the finance minister, chaired a meeting of senior officials from the Interior Ministry and other relevant agencies at the Challenger Hall in Nonthaburi province. He outlined the government’s policy and measures to deal with the problem.

The prime minister told the participating state officials that he had not called the meeting to consolidate his power but that he needed their help to get rid of what he called “modern-day slavery” from Thai society.

He pointed to threats and physical assaults faced by many debtors from illegal lenders who charge hefty interest rates.
“Those people are deprived of their freedom and are chained to their debts. I believe that the administrative authorities and the police will be able to free them," Srettha said.

He said he had instructed the Interior Ministry and the Royal Thai Police to work with relevant state agencies to tackle the problem, adding that dealing with illegal lending is on the “national agenda” of his government.

Srettha urged debtors of illegal lenders to register with the government through five available channels to obtain help. He said that authorities would mediate for a compromise between the debtors and their creditors.

More than 70,000 people have registered online and in person with about 4 billion baht in combined debt.

At the meeting, the PM told relevant authorities to strictly enforce the law in case the loan sharks fail to follow the resolution agreed to by both sides or continue to threaten their debtors.

“Illegal lending is a complex problem. No single state agency can completely solve the problem alone with its existing authority. Today, I ask all the agencies to work together – be it the police, the administrative authorities, or the Finance Ministry. Please exercise your power properly to improve the people’s quality of life,” the prime minister said.

He also said that not only creditors but also debtors who break the law would equally face legal action.

“My main targets are creditors and debtors who break the law and cause trouble. You must deal with this problem and not let it go,” the PM told the participating officials.