Viet Nam News
HCM CITY – On May 9 police in Sa Đéc city accosted Nguyễn Văn Thư at a car wash in Ward 1 and seized notebooks with records of his loans, more than 400 deposit contracts and identity documents and 3,000 flyers and 700 leaflets for loans.
They then raided his house in Tân Quý Đông Ward in Sa Đéc City, where they found another 150 contracts, dozens of land use permits and other documents.
The police arrested him on charges of being a loan shark.
Six people linked with Thư were also arrested, and all have admitted to lending money to students and small traders at interest rates of up to 20 per cent a month.
Similarly, in Cần Thơ city, police discovered a group of people from Ninh Bình and Đắk Nông led by Phan Văn Thiêm involved in an usury ring.
They seized VNĐ52 million in cash along with many documents allegedly indicating usury and weapons possibly used for debt collection from a house in An Thới Ward, Bình Thuỷ District.
The police said more than 110 people, mostly poor or small entrepreneurs, had borrowed money from this group.
Though the interest rate would be agreed at 10 per cent a month, borrowers were often forced to pay 20 per cent, failing which they would be threatened, a victim said.
Người Lao Động (The Labourer) newspaper has reported that usury is a big problem in the Mekong Delta and central provinces.
Quảng Ngãi in the central region is another province where many locals have fallen prey to loan sharks.
Hồ Văn Trăm, 60, of Nước Tre village in Trà Thọ Commune said he had received compensation of VNĐ770 million for his land that had been taken over for building the Nước Trong Dam last September.
Though he had planned to share a part of the money with his six children, he was unable to do so because he had to pay off the debts run up by one of them.
A group of strangers had arrived at his house to demand VNĐ300 million in payment for VNĐ100 million his son had borrowed four or five months earlier.
“Since they threatened to kill my family and burn my house, I had to pay.”
Hồ Văn Khánh, 30, a resident of Trà Thọ Commune’s Nước Biếc village, had also received compensation and was also preyed upon by loan sharks.
He often borrowed from a loan shark, VNĐ5-10 million at a time to buy household necessities.
“I don’t know how many times I had borrowed but they told me to repay more than VNĐ400 million,” he said.
“My parents only gave me VNĐ50 million to pay the debt.”
Hồ Tấn Vũ, chairman of the Trà Thọ Commune People’s Committee, said 158 families had been paid compensation for the Nước Trong Dam project, and suggested that most of them were saddled with high debts at very high interest rates. – VNS