Suspected Russian loan shark arrested

Friday, 14 June 2013 From Issue Vol. XXI No. 24 By  Boonlua Chatree

Department of Special Investigations officers arrested a Russian man for allegedly running a loan-sharking operation in which at least one customer was forced into prostitution when she couldn’t pay.

Ayrat Kabiryanof, 25, was captured following a July 2 pursuit by DSI agents and Chonburi police through central Pattaya.  Officers found 10 photocopied foreign passports and two bank books. Kabiryanof led police to his Banglamung house - which openly displayed Russian-language outdoor posters advertising his illegal money lending business - where officers recovered another 12 passports, two ledgers listing 285 Russian customers, credit cards and bank account books with more than a million baht in balance.

Ayrat Kabiryanof (seated, front right wearing handcuffs) has been arrested for loan sharking and human trafficking.Ayrat Kabiryanof (seated, front right wearing handcuffs) has been arrested for loan sharking and human trafficking.

The arrest came following a complaint from 22-year-old Ievgeniia Shevchenko, 22, who claimed Kabiryanof had taken her passport and forced her to work as a prostitute after she couldn’t pay off the 2 percent daily-compounded interest on her 10-day loan. DSI officials said they’ve received complaints from 10 other Russians. They alleged Kabiryanof had not only advertised outside his house, but in telephone booths and utility poles in heavily Russian neighborhoods in Jomtien and Najomtien.

Lt. Gen. Chat Kuldilok of the Interior Ministry said the loan-shark operation is believed to be funded by both Russian and Thai backers and that nearly a half dozen Russians are employed in it.

Customers, he said, would borrow 5,000-30,000 baht and charged as much as 60 percent interest. Passports were confiscated as collateral. Non-paying victims told police that Russians assaulted them while threatening to turn them into police for not having a passport.

Kabiryanof was charged with loan sharking offenses as well as being in the kingdom on an expired visa.

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