Blind man’s heartbreaking betrayal as his Aunt swindles his land for a loan. In a week of uplifting financial disability support hikes, Mr Likhit’s tale speaks of the darker side of human nature. Blind and desperate, he sought a loan, only to unknowingly sign away his 6 rai of land to his aunt. Thailand’s cruel loan contracts are exposed, highlighting the vulnerability of disabled people. Authorities to probe this disturbing story from northeastern Thailand.

In a week when news of substantial and generous new provisions for the disabled emerged, a blind man travelled to Bangkok with a darker message. 36-year-old Mr Likhit from Nakhon Ratchasima broke down as he told reporters how his own aunt, his deceased mother’s younger sister, had cheated him out of 6 rai of land after he asked for a loan of ฿20,000 when his contract labour employer absconded without paying his wages. He thought he had signed up for a loan at an extortionate rate. He learned later that he had signed over his land under Thailand’s cruel and archaic informal loan contracts.


Identified only by his first name on Wednesday, 36-year-old Mr Likhit made his way to Bangkok. In short, to plead for help and justice. The blind man was tricked into signing away his land inheritance by his aunt and her husband. Previously, the unemployed agricultural labourer had sought a loan after his employer disappeared overnight.

In a heart-wrenching press conference that unfolded on January 10, 2024, human greed and cynicism were laid bare.

It took place in Bangkok after a brave blind man travelled through the night to have his voice heard. Given that he is blind, his journey took a lot of effort coming from Thailand’s rural heartland. He cried at times during an emotional interaction with the press and media.

In brief, he is a severely visually impaired man. His name is Mr Likhit and he is 36 years old.

He was introduced to the media by his first name only. At length, he recently found himself in the clutches of deceit as relatives exploited his vulnerability.

Inheritance land seized legally after he failed to pay extortionate 10% per month interest payments on an informal loan he signed up for with his aunt

They seized his land, a valued inheritance from his deceased mother after tricking him into signing ownership documents.

The criminal act was committed under the guise of a loan. It happened in the Wang Nam Khiao area of Thailand’s northeastern Nakhon Ratchasima province. 

Mr Likhit’s story highlights the disturbing exploitation of a blind man who, in good faith, sought financial assistance.

He had turned to his own family after his employer had moved away overnight leaving him jobless. Previously, he worked as a contract agricultural labourer.

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According to Mr Likhit, he approached his real aunt, his mother’s younger sister, to borrow ฿20,000. Her husband was also a contracting party.

They stipulated an informal loan but significantly under contract at a 10% per month interest rate.

At the time, he believed he was signing loan documents. He was blindsided when he later discovered that the papers he signed transferred ownership of his 6 rai of land.

Significantly, he recalled that his title document to his land disappeared approximately eight years previously.

Mr Likhit has been blind for 12 years. He relied on assurances as to what he was signing as he could not see the agreement which pledged away his property

Expressing his distress, Mr Likhit, who lost his sight 12 years ago, told media audiences of his tale of woe.

He stated that when he signed the documents, he was unable to see them. In effect, he relied solely on trust and the bonds that should exist within families.

In a cruel twist of fate, he realised the gravity of the situation when he was informed that his land had been signed away. The land, inherited from his deceased mother, held sentimental value for Mr Likhit.

The contract he signed however is relatively normal. It is normal under the cruel and archaic contracts that are common in the dark world of informal Thai lending.

This is where many of Thailand’s land-based population must turn to when they hit hard times.

Nonetheless, there is an unlikely possibility that this loan may be illegal. It can be voided by authorities based on the interest rate charged if deemed illegal.

However, it is common for the written document, in such cases, to vary from the real terms of the oral contract. In this way, lenders attempt to keep themselves within the law.

The lender requires this to pass scrutiny at the local land office when taking possession of the property.

Blind man previously had given away part of his land for a community water project and also allowed those in need to live on it. They also face eviction

Significantly also, he had allowed some of his land to be used by his local village community for a water project. Notably, Mr Likhit previously donated part of the site for the construction of a water tank for the benefit of the local village.

His land was also used to house others but the new owners insisted on taking full possession of the property without encumbrances for farming.

The relative who orchestrated this deceit allegedly informed Mr Likhit that he had not paid the expected interest.

In brief, they informed him they were seizing the land. The blind man, unaware of the document’s true nature, was taken aback. 

Adding to Mr Likhit’s plight, he lost his job with a construction camp contractor who failed to pay wages. This left him bereft of resources and income. 

Besides, the prospect of losing his inherited land left the blind man in a state of emotional and financial distress.

Top official at the Ministry of the Interior weighs in. He urged Mr Likhit to ask the Ministry of Justice to order a full investigation into the matter

Mr Ekkapop Luengprasert, an advisor to the Minister of Interior Anutin Charnvirakul has been briefed on the matter.

Wednesday’s press conference was coordinated by the founder of the Saimai Tong Rod Facebook page. Simultaneously, Mr Ekkapop expressed his deep concern for Mr Likhit’s plight.

He emphatically asserted the need for a thorough investigation into the matter.

The top official urged the victim to seek redress at the Ministry of Justice. Underlining the severity of the case, Mr Ekkapop condemned the obvious exploitation of a disabled person.

Additionally, he noted that he had previously contributed to his community’s well-being by donating land for public use.

Calling for a comprehensive inquiry, Mr Ekkapop urged local officials to actively engage in assisting those in distress.

Thailand has a duty to prevent such vulnerable people from enduring further hardship. The case, marked by its pitiful circumstances, exposes the importance of protecting the rights of disabled people.

Mr Ekkapop declared there was a need for stringent measures against those who exploit their vulnerabilities.

Need to be vigilant to protect the rights of the vulnerable. Thailand’s track record in caring for the disabled is quite good for a less-developed country

As the wheels of justice begin to turn, in Mr Likhit’s case, it serves as a stark reminder. There is a widespread ethical responsibility to safeguard the rights and well-being of disabled people.

Especially, as in this case, those who are susceptible to manipulation due to their physical challenges.

For a mid-level and relatively poor country, Thailand rates well when it comes to its population with disabilities. Of course, there will always be shortcomings.

This story highlights one of them which is greed and shortsightedness even among close family.

Certainly, this depends very much on the family. The story also highlights the brutality of life where there is a lack of access to cash in the kingdom. Moreover, the insidious nature of informal lending.

Critics argue every year that Thailand has failed to live up to its commitments to the disabled. Particularly its duties under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which it ratified in 2008. 

Especially so, with the new Pheu Thai led government which came to power in September. In recent years, there have been questions raised about a lack of access. For instance, to education and indeed public spaces.

Attitude within government is the right one

At the same time, there are high hopes and aspirations but as Mr Likhit’s story illustrates, major pitfalls and scope for elevated legal protections.

Notwithstanding that, the right attitude and will is there at the highest level. This should never be taken for granted.

Significantly, as with the elderly, Thailand’s culture dictates that the disabled are cared for wherever possible within the family. In addition, this is also supported by Thailand’s strong agricultural village communities.

At the same time, the new government has not stood idly by. 

The new minister has just announced increased support for the disabled in Thailand. News of this emerged this week.

In a groundbreaking move aimed at enhancing the lives of individuals with disabilities, the Empowerment for Persons with Disabilities Fund confirmed a significant expansion of financial support for home repairs and rent.

New Minister starts by raising support for people like Mr Likhit with disabilities in Thailand. It allows them to overcome the real challenges faced

This was unveiled by the Social Development and Human Security Minister, Varawut Silpa-archa, at a high-level meeting on December 27, 2023. 

Mr Varawut Silpa-archa, the leader of the smaller Chartthaipattana Party, took up the role in September.

Previously, he was Natural Resources and Environment Minister in the government of General Prayut Chan Ocha. Subsequently, his party was part of the coalition that took up the reins in September.

Undoubtedly, the higher payments signify a renewed commitment to addressing the challenges faced by people with disabilities.

The driving force behind this initiative, Mr Varawut, underscored the substantial increase in financial assistance. This includes a noteworthy rise in the subsidy for house repairs.

The previous allocation of ฿30,000 per individual has been augmented to ฿ 40,000.

This boost in financial aid for house repairs will have a profound impact. It will directly improve the living conditions of those with disabilities.

Potential to improve quality of life for disabled people

Moreover, Mr Varawut unveiled a rise in support for house rent. The previous provision of ฿ 1,700 per month, applicable for two months, has been raised significantly to an impressive ฿3,000. 

Notably, this enhanced support for house rent is extended over a more generous duration of six months. It marks a substantial extension from the previous provision which was two months.

In his statement, Varawut referred to the importance of these increases. The minister emphasised their potential to enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities. 

The enhanced financial support for home repairs and rent aligns with the fund’s overarching goal.

In summary, that is to empower individuals with disabilities by providing tangible assistance to address their unique life challenges.

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