In Nonthaburi on December 15th, Ms Siriya, a borrower, owed money to Mr Sumet, a notorious loan shark. She pleads for a payment pause after just learning she has a cancerous cyst in her breast. Sumet’s unyielding response leads to an explosion of hate and frustration. His life ended in a violent confrontation with the woman’s husband.

The murder of a loan collector in Nonthaburi over a week ago gives a chilling insight into the nightmare realm of informal debt in Thailand. It is also, from the point of view of Thai authorities, a red light as the man was mowed down by a powerful pickup truck. It was owned by a man whose wife was under the cosh of the reviled local moneylender. He was, however, the victim of a brutal murder being pursued by Nonthaburi police. Police quickly identified the perpetrator as the husband of a hard-pressed borrower. His wife asked for a pause in loan repayments. She had just discovered she had breast cancer.

Photos from the scene of the fatal incident on December 15th. The husband of a borrower, in a fit of rage, used his pickup vehicle as a lethal weapon to murder a loan shark. It occurred on the day his wife learned she had breast cancer and was refused a payment pause.

Thailand’s campaign to help hard-pressed borrowers is leading to heightened tension between borrowers and lenders.

On the evening of December 15, 2023, a Friday, in Nonthaburi Province, the husband of a borrower took drastic and fatal action, in response to pressure to make repayments. At length, it resulted in the violent death of the creditor.

Police hunted down, sought an arrest warrant for the perpetrator. A man driven to the edge and beyond over financial stress and ill health of a loved one

The horrific incident sparked a widespread hunt for the perpetrator. Locals were left in shock as Nonthaburi police scrambled to piece together the details.

Earlier, Police Lieutenant Colonel Niphon Phonsawat, Deputy Inspector of Investigation at Rattanathibet Police Station, Nonthaburi Province, received an urgent report of a pickup truck colliding with a motorcycle. This occurred at the entrance of Soi Prachaniwet 3, Soi 8/3, Intersection 16, Tha Sai Subdistrict in the Mueang District of Nonthaburi Province.

Afterwards, arriving at the scene, police discovered a chaotic scene in front of a durian shop. There were scattered products with many items damaged previously, a white Isuzu pickup truck bearing the registration number Kor 94, Ranong, collided with a black Honda PCX motorcycle, resulting in a fatality.

A 36-year-old loan shark on a motorbike was the victim. Normal day-to-day shopping scene left in disarray such was the force of the collision and impact

The motorcycle rider, identified as Mr Sumet (last name withheld), a 36-year-old from Suphanburi Province, succumbed to a severe skull fracture. He was trapped beneath the pickup truck, which came to a halt after crashing into an electric pole.

The impact was so severe that nearby vehicles were also damaged. They included a white Suzuki Swift with the registration number 1 Khor 1821 from Bangkok, and a GPX brand motorcycle model Green DRONE without a licence plate.

On the whole, the evidence of what happened points to an act of premeditated murder.

The force of the collision left the normal shopping scene in disarray.

After that, there was a swift response from emergency services. In brief, it included volunteer staff from the Por Tek Tung Foundation and doctors from the Institute of Forensic Science.

Police found eyewitnesses. The shocked bystanders saw a life taken before their eyes in a savage act of violence. Some were debtors of the deceased

A witness, identified only as Mr. A, provided a chilling account of what happened. He told police he saw the pickup truck accelerating at high speed before colliding with the motorcycle. He described the horrifying scene of a life lost in front of his eyes. 

Significantly, it is suspected that the deceased, Mr Sumet might have been the individual who came to collect loan repayments. He told police of a notorious person causing trouble related to debt collection in the area.

Further inquiries confirmed the informal debt connection link. Ms Siriya, a 27-year-old fruit seller, disclosed that she had borrowed ฿13,000 from the deceased. She paid ฿700 per day for 90 days, totalling more than ฿63,000.

Woman just diagnosed with cancer called the loan shark to ask for a pause in payments. The response was not very friendly causing her husband to see red

Tensions escalated when Ms Siriya called the deceased to request a pause in debt collection due to a medical issue. She had just discovered a cyst in her breast requiring surgery. However, her plea was not heeded, leading to a confrontation in front of the fruit shop.

Frightened by the escalating situation, Ms Siriya called her 40-year-old husband. In a heartbreaking turn of events, her husband, later identified as Mr Boonrit Thanchalerm, arrived at the scene.

An altercation ensued, culminating in Mr Boonrit accelerating his pickup truck and fatally colliding with Mr Sumet. He died reportedly shouting and adamant about collecting his debts.

As the tragic incident unfolded, Mr. Boonrit, seizing the moment, fled the scene.

Death of the creditor caused government to warn that national efforts to combat household debt must involve legal protection for creditors and debtors

The police investigation uncovered that he subsequently called a passing motorcycle taxi for a quick escape.

Authorities quickly identified him as Mr Boonrit Thanchalerm, 36 years old, from Bang Bua Thong District, Nonthaburi Province, as the primary suspect. 

An ongoing manhunt was launched, with an arrest warrant issued based on the charge of attempted murder from the Nonthaburi Provincial Court.

The incident serves as a stark reminder of the challenge and emotions surrounding the informal debt. Especially from the point of view of Thai authorities who seek to urgently resolve a problem strangling the country’s economy.

It shows us the desperation and extreme measures that individuals, both creditors and debtors, resort to under financial distress.

Join the Thai News forum, follow Thai Examiner on Facebook here
Receive all our stories as they come out on Telegram here
Follow Thai Examiner here

Further reading:

Anutin reveals new low-interest loan facility for informal borrowers with a good credit rating to be offered

Government’s household debt efforts to inject ฿500 billion into the economy

Srettha’s crisis is not just an economic one, it is a ‘3D debt crisis’ that is strangling GDP growth

Zombie Thai firms holding back economic growth as they struggle just to pay interest on bank debt

Incoherent government economic policy clashes with Bank of Thailand’s efforts to rein in debt

Srettha outlines Digital Wallet as his government begins to flounder with a faltering economy and confusion

Economy is in troubled waters with fears for both exports and foreign tourism as 2023 winds down

Thailand faces an economic future of low growth despite Srettha’s plans because of a darker world

Another dip for the baht or are economic danger signals flashing for both Thailand and the world?

Police chief confirms 2 dead with reports of at least one more fatality in Bangkok mass shooting

Bank of Thailand boss appears critical of the new government’s policy initiatives on the economy

Economy tanks as demand for loans surges with an acute credit crisis and falling export output reducing growth

Concerns over household debt rising as banks report marginally lower non-performing loans

Thailand preparing for a soft landing as ‘cracks’ open up in the Chinese economy says bank chief

Economic danger signals emerging as politicians wrangle over who will form the next government

Bank of Thailand to tackle household debt in new plan from 2024 which will see higher standards