Where’s our money? Chiang Mai bank loses farmers’ 100 million baht

Angry co-op claims their farmers' 100 million baht has vanished

More than 200 angry members of an agricultural cooperative laid siege to Chang Phueak Police Station in Chiang Mai on Friday demanding to know where their farmers100 million baht has gone.

Members of the San Pa Tong Agriculture Cooperative claim that more than 100 million baht (US$2.8 million) deposited with a “reputable bank” has vanished from their account.

Police to recover farmers’ 100 million baht

The farmers have made three attempts to negotiate with the bank, but all to no avail, and so had no choice but to take the matter to the police.

Almost 200 farmers seized control of the police station until the station’s chief Pol Col Kittipong Petchmunee, agreed to help them with their case. He said…

“San Pa Tong Agricultural Cooperative says the bank has mysteriously lost the farmers’ 100 million baht. We will launch an investigation and take action as soon as possible.”

The cooperative’s president Chaiwised Deesuwan and manager Suchitra Mano led 200 members from San Pa Tong district into the city on Friday to follow up on a complaint made last Sunday. He said the cooperative’s account now only has 4,000 baht left.

Many missed opportunities

Chaiwised complained that about 10,000 members of the cooperative have lost their money.

Suchitra said the “reputable bank” had contacted the cooperative two years previously, offering an interest rate of 3.8% for deposits. She said the cooperative decided to move some 70 million baht to the bank because it believed the higher interest rate would be good for its members.

Besides, she said, the cooperative did not think even consider the possibility that the farmers’ 100 million baht would simply disappear. The bank is a large one and very well-known.

Suchitra added that the deposit of more than 70 million baht should have grown to around 104 million baht by now at the interest rate offered.

Chaiwised said the disappeared money will have perhaps devastating effects on some 10,000 cooperative members. He also insisted that the cooperative had not made any withdrawals. Because all of its funds had been transferred to the bank, the cooperative had lost out on many opportunities.

Bank accepts responsibility for farmers’ 100 million baht

The bank has apparently agreed to take responsibility for the farmers’ 100 million baht, but has set no deadline for returning the money.

Chaiwised said the bank is yet to provide any details on how the money went missing.

The cooperative’s management plans to file more complaints against the bank.

Chiang Mai News

Jon Whitman

Jon Whitman is a seasoned journalist and author who has been living and working in Asia for more than two decades. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Jon has been at the forefront of some of the most important stories coming out of China in the past decade. After a long and successful career in East sia, Jon is now semi-retired and living in the Outer Hebrides. He continues to write and is an avid traveller and photographer, documenting his experiences across the world.

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