Seven loan sharks arrested for torture death of colleague

By Lam Son   November 29, 2018 | 10:45 pm PT
Police in Thanh Hoa Province have arrested seven debt collectors after a colleague allegedly died from their torture.

Nam Long Financial Company, unlicensed and collecting up to 1,000 percent interest, is considered the biggest of its kind in the country with a presence in 63 out of the country’s 64 provinces and cities, according to the central province police and the Ministry of Public Security’s Criminal Police Department.

7 suspects are detained by Thanh Hoa Provincial Police. Photo courtesy of the police.

Seven suspects are detained by Thanh Hoa Provincial Police. Photo courtesy of the police

Thanh Hoa Provincial Hospital admitted a young man on July 19 in critical condition and with multiple injuries. When Nguyen Van Minh, 19, died later, the person who admitted him fled.

The victim was identified by the police as a collector for Nam Long in Bac Kan Province in the far northeast.

In July he had collected money from clients and pledged a company motorcycle for VND20 million ($890) and absconded.

Nguyen Duc Thanh, director of Nam Long, instructed his younger brother to find Minh and bring him to the head office in Hanoi for a "disciplinary" meeting.

At the company Minh was ordered to apologize to Thanh and ask for forgiveness from each person in the company if he did not want to be turned in to the police.

The "discipline" involved offering Minh two bowls, one with rice and the other with human feces, and asking him to choose between them. Every time he crawled toward the rice bowl, he was brutally beaten and tortured.

On July 10 he was taken to Thanh Hoa to be "reformed and taught manners." More beatings there caused him to pass out and be admitted to the hospital.

The alarmed provincial police reported it to the Ministry of Public Security to seek help with investigation, which found Nam Long Financial Company does not have a business registration and has operated as a violent loan shark agency.

It is estimated to have lent over VND510 billion ($21.4 million). When a debtor failed to repay in time, its collectors would intimidate and assault them and seize assets worth more than the due amount.

A victim tortured at Nam Long Financial Company. Photo courtesy of the police.

A victim tortured at Nam Long Financial Company. Photo courtesy of Thanh Hoa Police

It has 26 offices in 63 provinces and cities with a manager in charge of each. 

It has severe penalties even for staff transgressing rules.

They could get lucky and get away with a fine of VND50-100 million ($2,150 -$4,300). Or they could have fingers chopped off. They also run the risk of having themselves or their family members being abducted.

After a four-month investigation the police have filed charges against nine employees for deliberately causing injuries, taking hostages and usurious lending.

Two of them - Thanh, the company's director, and Nguyen Cao Thang who co-established the company with him - are still at large. 

The investigation is continuing and the police have called on victims of the company to contact them for help.

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