PHUKET: Thalang Police are investigating how a visit by collection officers for a loan shark turned into an overflowing brawl on the street in Baan Pru Samphan, Tambon Thepkrasattri, Wednesday August 25.
The incident came to the attention of the police when 55-year-old store owner Pranee Tayang reported to Thalang police yesterday (August 27) how several “able-bodied” men had arrived at her store for collect the unpaid payment on a loan that she and her husband had taken out from an individual.
The incident was videotaped, showing several people repeatedly hitting each other, most of the punches landing on the head. The video was posted online and has since gone viral among Phuket residents.
Yesterday, reporting the incident to Lt. Col. Kraisorn Boonprasop of Thalang Police, Ms Pranee explained that she and her husband had borrowed B6,000 from a local loan provider.
The loan was taken over a month ago, with another party, bringing the total amount borrowed to B11,000.
The terms of the loan were “20% interest,” Ms Pranee said, noting that in terms of cash, the interest alone was B550 per day.
The most recent loan repayment was due on Tuesday, but she and her husband were unable to make the payment due to the rain, she said.
Explaining this to the loan officer spoke of serious insults against her parents, Ms. Pranee noted.
On the evening of the next day, Wednesday, several tall men entered the store to demand payment. An argument erupted after one of the men called it a “disrespectful word,” resulting in the brawl seen in the music video, she explained.
Her husband and son opposed the word used against her. Her husband was injured in the fight, as were two of the debt collectors, she noted.
One of the men in the fight was hit in the windpipe with a rod, she added.
However, it has not been reported who struck first.
Ms Pranee confirmed that she had taken “informal loans” several times and paid them all back on time without any incident, but on the day of the incident, she admitted to paying late due to the rain.
Thalang’s deputy police chief Lt. Col. Anukul Nuket said he is currently interviewing people from both sides involved in the brawl.
He added that he was awaiting the results of the medical examinations of the injured and the reports of the officers investigating the scene of the fight.
Kraisorn Pantip, Phu Yai Baan from Moo 8, Thepkrasattri, called on local residents in the area not to borrow from “informal suppliers”.
Several households in the village were known to have borrowed money from loan sharks, he said.
“We never encourage people to borrow money through informal loans because the village itself has a village fund. There is a savings fund that people can borrow to find additional capital, ”he said.
“With regard to this incident, as far as I know of the residents, it is that they borrowed money, but they always paid well. Everything we know about what happened yesterday [Wednesday] was that there had been an argument over offensive words used about their mother, ”he said.