The reasons for frustration: A large number of Czech citizens are being destroyed by a parasitical bailiff industry

14. 2. 2018

čas čtení 5 minut
This is a map of the Czech regions which are most affected by debt warrant orders. In the areas marked with the darkest colour, up to 20 per cent of citizens are victims of private bailiffs.

Around the year 2000, under the government of the then Social Democratic PM Miloš Zeman, the Czech government approved a new law allowing private bailiffs to extort money from  those Czech citizens who find themselves in debt.

Very quickly, this has developed into a multi-million dollar  business where private bailiffs are destroying the lives of a large number of often the most vulnerable members of society.

The way this business operates is that is starts with a miniscule debt. Perhaps you did not buy yourself a ticket when travelling on public transport and you were fined 10 euros or so for this. Or you have changed your mobile operator and there has remained an unpaid bill of 5 euros...

The principle of bailiff work is that the person who has incurred such a minor debt must not be informed about it for several years. During those years, the debt is appropriated by private companies and it grows exorbitantly because the bailiffs charge astronomical private fees. Thus someone whose debt was originally 5 euros often loses their house.

You will first learn about your debt when you suddenly find out that your bank account has been blocked, so that you cannot actually pay what you owe. Then deductions are made from your wages or from your social support payments.

At the moment, approximately 10 per cent of the inhabitants of the Czech Republic are the victims of extortion of this multi-million industry.

The Prague-based economic daily newspaper Hospodářské noviny is reporting that the number of victims is steadily growing. At the moment 862 507 Czech citizens are terrorised by bailiffs, says the analytical project On its website you can see which areas of the Czech Republic are the most seriously affected..

Czech sociologist Daniel Prokop has pointed to the fact that it was primarily those Czech villages and towns who have been most affected by the oppression from the bailiffs  that have voted for the re-election of President Miloš Zeman in the recent presidential election. This is rather paradoxical because Zeman relies heavily on the support of the bailiffs and his political allies have extracted billions of Czech crowns from the towns and villages which have most frequently voted for Zeman:

Daniel Prokop: "Zeman is being criticised for many things. But this is the paradox of this election. It was during Zeman's government that the bailiff law was introduced. Bailiffs co-financed Zeman's presidential campaign in 2013. Zeman's chancellor owned a bailiff firm, argued that bailiffs must be hard on people in debt. Yet if Zeman wins this election, it will be thanks to those towns and villages from which bailiff extortion has extracted billions of Czech crowns".

Graph: Electoral support for Miloš Zeman in the first round of the presidential election in relation to the number of bailiff warrant orders in each town and village. The larger the number of debt warrant orders, the bigger was the electoral support for Zeman

For instance, in the town of Trmice (Northern Bohemia) more than 40 per cent of adults are victims of the bailiffs. Old age pensioners and even children are affected. When a child is caught on public transport without a ticket and his parents have failed to pay the fine, the child will be emburdened with a debt which will grow into tens of thousands of Czech crowns, says Hospodářské noviny.

The number of Czech citizens affected by bailiff action has grown by 3,4 per cent in comparison with the previous year. There is a large number of victims who are affected by multiple debt warrant orders. Almost half a million Czech citizens are emburdened with more than three debt warrant orders, 151 000 are emburdened with more than ten debt warrant orders.

Old age pensioners and single mothers with children are particularly vulnerable. Almost 61 000 Czechs older than 65 years of age are the victims of the debt warrant orders. Some 88 000 Czech citizens receiving various types of social welfare payments are affected by the debt warrant orders. Orphans and disabled people are also affected. In Northern Bohemia, every tenth disabled old age pensioner is a victim of the bailiffs. Bailiffs deduct money from social welfare payments to sick people and to pregnant mothers.

Hundreds of thousands of Czechs find themselves in a situation where they are unable to pay their debts, which are constantly growing. They have been thrown into a debt trap which they cannot escape. They try to survive by working on the black market, within a cash economy which avoids any records of earnings or payments.

The frustration of these citizens is turning into protest votes. It is possible that in an extreme situation, people affected by the bailiffs could vote for the departure of the Czech Republic from the European Union, warns Hospodářské noviny. That would be a disaster since 85 per cent of the Czech GDP is dependent on trade with Western Europe.

No Czech politician and no Czech political party have ever acted against this abuse.

Source in Czech HERE




Obsah vydání | 20. 2. 2018