The House of Cards

A month ago, all Choi Pyong Jin had to do to feed his habit was insert one of his 18 credit cards into a bank ATM. Out came borrowed money, about $25,000 a month, which he shoveled into his ailing business—until the day of reckoning. Crushed by debt that far exceeded his annual income, Choi was forced to sell his house to pay off some of the card companies, but he still owed $113,000. A few weeks ago, he decided to break the pattern that had precipitated his financial ruin. He took scissors to his credit cards but seems reluctant to...

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