Thailand’s Finance Ministry announced that almost 5,500 loan sharks were arrested between 2017 to 2020.
The economic and financial advisor to the Fiscal Policy Office, Pornchai Thiraveja, stated that the police and Finance Ministry’s conjoined efforts caught 5,479 loan sharks and their cohorts from October 2016 to April of this year.
Research conducted by Thailand’s National Economic and Social Development Council found that Thai household debts ballooned to 13 million baht last year.
Debts for consumption recorded 35 percent of the total household debt, closely followed by mortgage debts (33.7 percent), investment debts (18.4 percent), and auto loans (12.8 percent).
The most common expenses that cause repeated loans were mortgage and auto payments (24.7 percent), traveling expenses (19.3 percent), clothes (16 percent), liquor/cigarettes (11.2 percent), and electricity/tap water (6.6 percent).
The interviewed debtors stated that the more they earned, the more they spent.
The Finance Ministry’s increased efforts to terminate loan sharks are aimed at saving people from informal debts, according to Mr. Thiraveja.
The Finance Ministry also added that they had included increased access to formal loans, negotiations with informal creditors, capability enhancement for informal debtors, and support for community-based financial organizations, to solve unstructured debt problems.