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3 stores investigated for potential fraud in government co-payment scheme

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Thai PBS World

Officials are investigating 3 businesses for possibly de-frauding the government under the “Let’s Go Halves” stimulus scheme introduced last month. The co-payment plan launched on October 16 in an effort to boost domestic spending. Under the scheme, 10 million citizens can avail of discounts on purchases at participating stores of up to 150 baht a day, capped at 3,000 baht per person.

Participating businesses receive the remainder of the purchase price from the government through the Thung Ngern app. However, it’s believed 3 businesses have already accessed funds through the app, without any purchases being made in their stores. Utthaphol Utthaworadet from the Fiscal Policy Office says an investigation has been launched into the stores in question.

“We have found that the merchants have withdrawn money via the application but have no actual purchases made at their shops since the campaign started. The office is currently gathering data from other merchants who might have been running similar ploys and will ask police to investigate them as well.

“We would like to warn merchants or customers who plan to use this campaign for purposes other than stimulating the economy to stop, as the Finance Ministry and Krung Thai Bank can check and verify each store’s purchase history.”

Despite the alleged fraud, Utthaphol says there are no plans to stop the stimulus scheme, which has given domestic spending a much-needed boost.

“The campaign will continue as planned, despite fraudulent attempts, as there have been more than 400,000 merchants registered, and total spending under the campaign has surpassed 5 billion baht.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Friday, November 6, 2020 at 9:44 am

    They could easily do the bar girl’s scam.
    You buy them a dress, pay an inflated price, and later the bar girl take the dress back and takes commission on what you paid for the dress.
    later you ask: why you no wear dress – she never does . . .
    This scam would work with this scheme.

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Crime

More illegal border crossers from Myanmar arrested in western Thailand

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In Thailand’s western province of Kanchanaburi, police have caught 2 more groups of migrants crossing the border from Myanmar. Police say they arrested them and their guide as they crossed over the border illegally, searching for jobs. An army ranger patrol says they saw 20 people carrying baggage. They were walking along a track at Ban Patrudan border village in Ban Kao at around 5pm yesterday.

The patrol says they stopped the group of 11 men and 9 women, and found they had no travel documents. The group said they had travelled from Dawei township in Myanmar to the border of the province. They said it took them 4 days to cross the border on a foot along a natural path. They said their guide was to take them to a location in which they would then be picked up and transferred to jobs in central Thailand. The fee for this was anywhere from 13,000-20,000 baht each to a broker in Myanmar. The migrants’ temperatures were checked, with police saying the results were normal.

The same patrol later caught a second group of illegal migrants, consisting of 7 men and 2 women. Those migrants told the police that they were being transferred to Samut Prakan province, which shares a provincial border with Bangkok, for jobs.

The latest group of migrants adds to the thousands of foreign nationals that have been arrested this year for illegally crossing land borders into Thailand. From January 1 to May 9, a total of 15,378 people have been arrested for illegally crossing land borders into Thailand. Out of the people arrested, 6,072 were from Myanmar, 5,114 were from Cambodia and 882 were from Laos.

The Thai Immigration Bureau is working with border patrol officers to tighten security along Thailand’s borders, the bureau’s chief Sompong Chingduang told the Bangkok Post.

“Those who enter Thailand illegally will be prosecuted under the immigration law, the communicable diseases and the emergency decree.”

In Thailand’s last wave of Covid-19 infections in December and January, fingers pointed at illegal Burmese migrants as the epicentre of infections were concentrated at a fishing hub in Samut Sakhon, affecting a large migrant worker population.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Bangkok

Man, posed as Bangkok modelling agent, arrested for allegedly raping 36 women

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via INN

A man in Bangkok was arrested on rape charges after 36 women came forward to police, claiming the man posed as a modelling agent to lure the women into an in-person meeting, then threatening them to take drugs and forcing them to have sex with him.

The victims say 39 year old Denphum Wattanachotpinyo had posed as an agent, saying he could connect them with jobs as hostesses serving drinks at private parties and hotels.

Some Thai models who are known as “pretties” often work as hostesses at private parties where sex, drugs and excessive drinking are often involved. With the work looked down upon by Thai society, women have been less likely to report abuse.

The dangers many “pretties” face have been brought to light recently after the deaths of 2 “pretty” models. In 2019, a 25 year old model died from “extreme alcohol intoxication.” Her body was found dead in the lobby in a Bangkok condominium. Another model died 2 months ago after working as a hostess at a private party in Bangkok.

Police in Bangkok recently arrested Denphum Wattanachotpinyo, who is from Nonthaburi, a suburb outside the capital. Police say Denphum Wattanachotpinyo told women that he was a modelling agent and said he wanted to meet in person before arranging a job.

Victims say Denphum used a knife to threaten them, telling them to take drugs and then raping them. They say he recorded the sexual acts on video and used it as blackmail. Some victims say Denphum also stole from them.

Denphum was wanted on 3 arrest warrants issued by the Criminal Court and Thon Buri Criminal Court. He faces charges of rape, threatening to cause harm, depriving others of their freedom, threatening and intimidating others, and theft. Police say that Denphum denies the charges and claims the sex was consensual.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Crime

Police step up border patrols and checkpoints, arresting 49 illegal migrants today

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Police are stepping up border checkpoints and patrolling as 49 more illegal migrants from Myanmar are arrested today. In the North, Trairong Piewpan, deputy commissioner of Provincial Police Region 6, says checkpoints have been set up along the roads, waterways and natural foot trails in an effort to block all possible channels for illegal border crossings from Myanmar. In Songkhla, a southern border province, combined police units were deployed heavily among the mountainous areas of the border with Malaysia, to stop border crossings.

The border crossings bring fears of the Indian and South African Covid-19 variants, as well as more infections of the original virus. Yesterday, 10 Burmese job seekers were arrested after crossing over the Malaysian border and into Thailand. And, today, 49 illegal Burmese migrants and 3 guides were arrested near a border village in Lat Ya province. None of them were carrying travel documents.

Soldiers in PPE suits took their temperatures, with none displaying a fever. The illegal border crossers said they had walked 3 days along natural trails from Dawei to the Thai border. They were to pay 13,000-20,000 baht each in brokerage fees for jobs in Thailand, but say they had not made a payment yet. The 3 guides were charged with human trafficking as well as illegally entering the Kingdom and violating the emergency decree. The others were charged with the same offenses minus the human trafficking. Police say they were given food and water before being handed to the Muang district police to face legal action on the charges detailed above.

It has not been disclosed whether the migrants were tested for the Covid-19 virus, but we will update the information if more is given concerning the migrants’ virus status.

Meanwhile, Thailand reported 1,630 new Covid-19 cases and 22 coronavirus-related deaths today. There are now 29,376 active Covid-19 cases. Since the start of the pandemic last year, the CCSA has reported 85,005 Covid-19 cases and 421 Covid-related deaths.

 

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