Police arrested 14 members at two companies in Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Binh District who have threatened and insulted people that failed to pay loan overdue.
Those arrestees work for Vietnam Thinh Vuong Debt Trading JSC and THT Law Co. Ltd. They are now being investigated for “extortion.”
Their detention came after Ho Chi Minh City’s Police Department received many reports from local people, saying they had been threatened and insulted by people who claimed to be “debt collection employees” after they could not pay the debts they owed to creditors.
Those employees called the borrowers on the phone and posted photos and information to insult and slander them on social media.
In some cases, their families, friends, and workplaces were also harassed and threatened.
As police investigated, the two companies were hired by creditors to get back the loans. Their staff members would be offered commissions depending on the sum they could collect.
In early March, criminal police from the Ministry of Public Security had joined forces with HCMC police to bust the head office of the two companies and seized from their computers, laptops, and smartphones data on the debtors, the amount of debt, and the process to collect those debts.
Police said the two companies had got information about debtors from a financial firm based in Hanoi.
Nguyen Minh Thanh, manager at Vietnam Thinh Vuong Debt Trading JSC, said staff at the company were divided into four teams with 7-10 members each.
Every month, each staff would make 2,500-3,000 phone calls on average to harass debtors, and usually, each collected VND2-3 billion (US$84,516-126,775) of debt per month.
Tran Ha Anh Thu, head of the Credit Department at THT Law Co. Ltd, said she and other people at the company were in charge of dealing with debtors who had been insulted and threatened but still did not pay the debt.
What she and her team would do is reaching to the debtors’ families and workplaces for threats.
Police said the finance company based in Hanoi paid an interest rate of up to 86% for each debt collected, creating a strong motivation for debt collectors.
They said this is a form of abuse and harassment.
Vietnamese police have launched a series of raids against debt collection firms that resorted to abuse and threats in recent weeks. Dozens of people from multiple firms have been arrested.
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