The incident was brought to the police’s attention when 55-year-old shop owner Pranee Tayang reported to Thalang Police yesterday (Aug 27) how several “able bodied” men had arrived at her shop to collect outstanding payment for a loan that she and her husband had taken out from a private individual.
The incident was recorded on video, showing several people striking each other repeatedly, with many of the blows being closed fists landing on heads. The video has been posted online, and since gone viral among Phuket residents.
In reporting the incident to Lt Col Kraisorn Boonprasop of the Thalang Police yesterday, Ms Pranee explained that she and her husband had borrowed B6,000 from a local loan provider.
The loan was taken out over a month ago, along with another party, bringing the total amount borrowed to B11,000.
The terms of the loan was “20% interest”, Ms Pranee said, noting that in cash terms the interest alone amounted to B550 a day.
The most recent loan repayment was due on Tuesday, but she and her husband were unable to make the payment due to the rain, she said.
Explaining this to the loan agent evoked grave insults against her parents, Ms Pranee noted.
On the evening of the next day, Wednesday, several large men entered the shop demanding payment. An argument broke out after one of the men called her “a disrespectful word”, resulting in the brawl seen in the video clip, she explained.
Her husband and her son had objected to the word used against her. Her husband was injured in the fight, as were two of the debt collectors, she noted.
One of the men in the fight was struck in the windpipe with a rod, she added.
However, It was not reported who struck first.
Ms Pranee confirmed that she had taken out “informal loans” several times previously and had repaid them all on time with no incidents, but on the day of the incident she admitted to paying late because of the rain.
Thalang Police Deputy Chief Lt Col Anukul Nuket said that he is currently questioning people from both parties involved in the brawl.
He added that he was waiting for the results of medical examinations of those injured, and for reports of officers investigating the scene of the fight.
Kraisorn Pantip, Phu Yai Baan of Moo 8, Thepkrasattri, called on local residents in the area not to take out any loans from “informal providers”.
Several households in the village were known to have borrowed money from loan sharks, he said.
“We never encourage people to borrow money through informal loans because the village itself has a village fund. There is a savings fund which people can borrow from to come up with additional capital,” he said.
“Regarding this incident, as far as I know from the residents, is that they have borrowed money, but they’ve always paid well. All we know about what happened yesterday [Wednesday] was that there was an argument over offensive words used about their mother,” he said.