The Ministry of Economy and Finance has called on all unregistered pawnshops to apply for an operating license by March 31 or face legal action, according to a government announcement on Friday.
The move follows the 2010 law that first legalised pawnshops in the Kingdom, an attempt to bring under control an industry that many assumed dealt largely in stolen goods.
“If they don’t come to apply for a license by the deadline, we will shut them down and educate them as to how their business is supposed to run,” Mey Vann, who oversees the financial industry for the MEF, said.
There are over 800 illegal shops operating nationwide, he said, that ecourage robbery and other petty crime when they purchase stolen property.
More than 100 legal pawn-shops have received licenses over the past two years, according to Mey Vann, and now offer short-term loans with lower interest rates in exchange for collateral of some kind.