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Addition of 1 million hotel nights delayed as fraud detected in domestic travel scheme

Maya Taylor

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Addition of 1 million hotel nights delayed as fraud detected in domestic travel scheme | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Sumit Chinchane on Unsplash
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The government’s plan to add 1 million hotel nights to its domestic tourism stimulus campaign has hit a snag, amid reports of fraud. Officials say irregularities have been detected in the transactions of around 514 hotels and other businesses registered with the scheme. The revelation comes as officials investigate allegations of fraud in the government’s co-payment scheme, “Let’s Go Halves” (Khon La Khrueng).

According to the Tourism and Sports Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, the PM has ordered authorities to take action against those involved, to show that defrauding government schemes will not be tolerated. He says all businesses found guilty of such practices will be punished, adding that hotels that have fabricated bookings may have their licences revoked and be blacklisted from future campaigns.

According to a Bangkok Post report, Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand says that, while they have a list of the hotels suspected of fraud, the investigation is ongoing, with officials seeking to clarify the exact number of rooms involved. According to Yuthasak, the most common scam involves fabricated bookings, with hotels receiving a 40% subsidy from the government. Other properties are accused of increasing room rates to avail of a higher subsidy. In total, there are believed to be nearly 109,000 fraudulent transactions involving over 300 hotels, and nearly 50,000 involving 200 stores.

Meanwhile, Suksit Suvunditkul from Deevana Hotels and Resorts, and vice-president of the Thai Hotels’ Association southern chapter, says the delay in adding the 1 million rooms has resulted in potential guests holding off making reservations. He says future bookings are being affected by travellers waiting for the 40% subsidy to be made available. Suksit is calling on the government to press ahead with the additional rooms by early January, to boost demand during the traditional high season.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Graham White

    Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 10:55 am

    Par for the course.

  2. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 11:12 am

    Only a 109.000 fraudulent transactions?
    Come on this is Thailand, there would be at least 200.000.

  3. Avatar

    Mister Stretch

    Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 3:32 pm

    “The government’s plan to add 1 million hotel nights to its domestic tourism stimulus campaign has hit a snag, amid reports of fraud.”

    All those that are surprised, raise your right hand.

    Right.

  4. Avatar

    Ian

    Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 5:42 pm

    Maybe an excuse cos nobody wants them they can’t even fill what they have now

  5. Avatar

    Leo Z

    Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 2:34 am

    Hotels/Stores: “Hi staff, security, cleaning ladies, have your brother/sister make bookings/purchases and we’ll refund 110% guaranteed after we get the government subsidy”.

    This was a particularly difficult government program to scam.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Health Minister volunteering to receive first Covid jab, as effectiveness rate questioned

Maya Taylor

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Health Minister volunteering to receive first Covid jab, as effectiveness rate questioned | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

“I’ll go first!”

Thailand’s Public Health Minister has repeated his pledge to be the first person to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, in a bid to allay people’s concerns. Questions have been raised about the Chinese-manufactured Sinovac Biotech jab after its effectiveness rating was revised downwards by researchers in Brazil.

Anutin Charnvirakul says the vaccine process will be overseen by Sophon Mekthon from the Ministry of Public Health and all safety criteria will be met. The Pattaya News reports that the minister says he has confidence in the safety of the vaccine and is willing to prove it by being the first person to get the jab. It’s not the first time he has made this suggestion but there has been no official confirmation that the Health Minister will be first in line.

Thailand has ordered 2 million doses of the vaccine, with the first 200,000 expected to arrive next month. The government has also ordered 26 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine produced by AstraZeneca in partnership with Oxford University but is not expected to take delivery of that vaccine until the middle of the year.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Economy

Government considering another registration round for co-payment scheme

Maya Taylor

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Government considering another registration round for co-payment scheme | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS World

The Finance Ministery is considering adding another registration round to the Khon La Khrueng (“Let’s Go Halves”) co-payment scheme, as 1.34 million rights have not yet been taken up. The government introduced the scheme last October, in an effort to stimulate the Covid-battered economy. Under the scheme, Thai citizens get a 50% subsidy on the purchase of food, drink and general products, up to 150 baht per person per day, to a maximum of 3,000 baht for the duration of the scheme. Those who sign up need to make purchases within 14 days of their registration.

The first phase got under way on October 23 and finished on December 31, with the government setting aside 30 billion baht to cover 10 million people. The second phase began on January 1 and runs until March 31, covering an additional 5 million people. The cap has also been raised from 3,000 to 3,500 baht.

Kulaya Tantitemit from the Fiscal Policy Office says that of the combined 15 million rights, 13.66 have been taken up. The Bangkok Post reports that those who have not received subsidy rights can register for the 1.34 million that remain by the end of this month.

The Finance Ministry is also considering a third phase of the scheme, based on the success of the first 2 phases, according to Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Crime

Arrest warrants sought for 8 civilians suspected of smuggling migrant workers

Maya Taylor

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Arrest warrants sought for 8 civilians suspected of smuggling migrant workers | The Thaiger
PHOTO: AP

Deputy national police chief Damrongsak Kittiprapas has confirmed that arrest warrants are being sought for 8 civilians implicated in the illegal smuggling of migrant workers. The Bangkok Post reports that the 8 face charges of aiding and abetting illegal immigration. The workers were trafficked from Myanmar to the central Thai province of Samut Sakhon, where the latest outbreak of Covid-19 began last month. 20 police officers are also being investigated for their role in the smuggling operation. They have been suspended from duty pending a full investigation. It’s thought there are up to 25 police officers suspected of involvement.

“After tracing the migrant workers’ route into Samut Sakhon and then jobs at its shrimp market, we found that most received direct assistance from more than 20 police officials and eight civilians. They smuggled the workers across the border in Sangkhla Buri district of Kanchanaburi and then provided transport to get them to Samut Sakhon.”

Damrongsak says an investigative committee is being set up prior to criminal prosecution and disciplinary action being taken against the police officers involved.

“A formal fact-finding procedure will be carried out before both disciplinary and legal action is pursued against them.”

The committee, which is being chaired by the assistant national police chief, will work with a separate panel set up by the government to investigate the role of police officers in people smuggling. The committee is mostly made up of police officers. Damrongsak says PM Prayut Chan-o-cha insists that investigating officers carry out their duties in an honest and transparent manner.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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