Sixteen youths aged between 14 and 18 - 10 boys and six girls - were rescued from a loan-shark gang in Pathum Thani's Lam Luk Ka district yesterday.
Police raided two houses in tambon Khu Khot at 9am yesterday, arresting four men, two of whom were identified as Athikhom Longthong, 25, and Sakchai Klinpong, 39.
The raid was launched after a parent filed a complaint with the Pavena Foundation, saying her young son had been detained by the gang and forced to work in lieu of interest on her loan. She said the boy was beaten up if he resisted.
Caretaker Social Development and Human Security Minister Pavena Hongsakul also witnessed the raid.
Initial interviews found that the gang forced the boys to collect debts from other borrowers and would be beaten up if they resisted. The youngsters were apparently paid Bt4,000 per month for this work.
Many of the youngsters apparently did what they were told as their parents still owed money to the gang, which is reportedly led by a man identified only as Samreung.