Auto loan shark gang busted, 163 vehicles seized

Auto loan shark gang busted, 163 vehicles seized

Police impound the vehicles at the unregistered warehouse in Muang district, Phitsanulok, as they arrested loan shark suspects there on Friday morning. (Photo supplied)
Police impound the vehicles at the unregistered warehouse in Muang district, Phitsanulok, as they arrested loan shark suspects there on Friday morning. (Photo supplied)

PHITSANULOK: Police have arrested four men for allegedly overcharging interest on loans and impounded 163 vehicles they kept as collateral.

Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop Bhuridej, commissioner of the Central Investigation Bureau, led the raid at an unregistered warehouse where 84 cars and 79 motorcycles were kept on Mittraphap Road in Muang district on Friday morning. One of the vehicles had been reported stolen in Malaysia.

During the raid, police arrested suspected creditor Natthachai Khuthanthong, 29, manager Kanpong Panwaree, 31, and warehouse attendants Patradanai Pongjinda, 21, and Kulthawat Im-ong, 38.

Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop said the suspected loan shark illegally charged 10% monthly interest and kept the vehicles as collateral.

Mr Kanpong was allegedly responsible for transferring loans and collecting repayments for a 3% share of the employer's earnings. The other two received 15,000 baht each per month for guarding the warehouse and for delivering and seizing the vehicles, the commissioner said.

The debtors also paid 300-500 baht per motorcycle and 2,000 baht per car as parking fees at the warehouse.

As well, the lender forced the debtors to sign ownership transfer agreements and sold the vehicles that could not be transferred in grey markets. The group had run the illicit business since early last year and its turnover nearly reached 50 million baht, Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop said.

The 163 impounded vehicles included a car reportedly stolen in Malaysia, two vehicles with fake licence plates and two with forged ownership documents, he said.

The four suspects were charged with illegal lending and overcharging loan interest.

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