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In Bangkok Sangwian Raksapetch, a 52 year old famer in severe debt from Lophuri province set herself on fire inside a government complaint center today in front of a crowd of other petitioners. The woman was seeking help from officials with regards to the money she owes a money lender that spiraled out of control from 400,000 baht to 1.5 million due to the high interest rate place on the loan.
The official who was dealing with Sangwian’s complaint told reporters that she was making a call to other officials in Lopburi’s Koh Samrong district to find more information to help with woman when she shouted out “so you cannot help me” before dousing herself in petrol and setting herself alight.
Officers at the centre scrambled to help the woman who was taken to hospital and is now in a critical condition. The police say they also found a knife in her bag.
The centre that was set up by the Junta’s National Council for Pease and Order is located in the Office of the Civil Service Commission. Many Thai rice farmers have found themselves stuck in poverty and annual cycles of debt despite Thailand being a major exporter of rice.