Loan sharking and debt: A vicious cycle in Thailand with no foreseeable solutions


BANGKOK, 23 July 2014  – Household debt problems in Thailand are starting to have a serious impact on the economy, resulting in more and more people having to turn to loan sharks to make ends meet.

For this reason, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has cooperated with relevant agencies to find a way to help tackle this problem. Some debtors have even committed suicide, as they were unable to pay back their loans or frightened by loan sharks’ violent debt claims.

The Bank of Thailand (BOT) has reported that the total household debt now stands at 9.79 trillion baht or 82.3 percent of the country’s GDP, which is a rather worrying statistic.

Meanwhile, the National Credit Bureau (NCB) of Thailand also reported that at least 1.1 million borrowers are starting to fall behind on their debt payments during the first quarter of 2014. Compared to last year, only 850,000 of them had trouble repaying their loans.

Unsurprisingly, these are some reasons that most people, especially low-income earners, turn to informal lenders to make ends meet. Should debt problems prolong, then Thais would be trapped in a vicious cycle of debt where there would be no foreseeable solution to resolve this problem.