Police dismantle car pawn shop in northern Thailand

Police from the Central Bureau of Investigation dismantled a car pawn shop and arrested four men for allegedly overcharging interest on car title loans, impoundment of 163 vehicles.

On Friday morning, the Central Bureau of Investigation raided an unregistered warehouse where 163 vehicles were kept on Mittraphap Road in Phitsanulok. One of the pledged cars was reportedly stolen in Malaysia.

During the police raid, they arrested the owner of the car pawn, Mr. Natthachai Khuthanthong, 29, its manager, Mr. Kanpong Panwaree, 31, and 2 storekeepers, Mr. Patradanai Pongjinda, 21, and Mr. Kulthawat Im-ong, 38 years old.

CVB police said the owner of the car’s pledge charges 10% monthly interest and keeps borrowers’ vehicles as collateral.

Mr. Kanpong, the manager, was reportedly responsible for transferring the car title loans and collecting the refunds. The other two men were paying 15,000 baht each per month for the delivery and seizure of borrowers’ vehicles.

The borrowers of the title loans also had to pay 300 to 500 baht per motorcycle and 2,000 baht per car for warehouse storage costs.

The usurer also forced borrowers to sign a transfer of ownership agreement to sell the vehicles of non-payers. He also sold the vehicles that could not be transferred to the gray markets. The group had been running the auto securities lending business since last year and had sales of nearly 50 million baht, police said.

CVB police impound 163 vehicles, including a car allegedly stolen in Malaysia. Two of the vehicles had fake license plates and two had fake ownership documents.

The four suspects were also charged with loan sharking and overcharging interest on car title loans.

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Jeanetta J. Stewart

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