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Around 9,000 people to face charges for allegedly defrauding travel subsidy scheme

Caitlin Ashworth

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Around 9,000 people to face charges for allegedly defrauding travel subsidy scheme | The Thaiger
PHOTO: MGR Online
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Around 9,000 people will face criminal charges for allegedly defrauding the “We Travel Together” subsidy scheme which was launched to stimulate the economy and to help hotels and restaurants that were struggling after the lack of travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The national police chief Suwat Jangyodsuk says the police plan to prosecute around 9,000 people for conspiring with hotel operators and shop owners to cheat the government subsidy scheme. The scheme, launched by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, covered 40% of room rates and issued 600 baht and 900 baht food vouchers for food and travel.

Lower rates on rooms were intended to draw in more travellers, but a number of hoteliers allegedly raised their prices to get more subsidies. Some even created fake hotel bookings. Last month, TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn filed a complaint against 312 hotels and 202 shops for allegedly cheating the scheme, saying legal action needed to be taken before the launching the second phase of the scheme.

Yesterday, police arrested 50 people in raids in Chiayaphum and Phuket for allegedly cheating the scheme. Police say some suspects faked shopping receipts and inflated room rates.

Natchaya Resort in Chaiyaphum was raided by police after it made excessive room reservations and subsidy claims for unusually high spending at local shops.

Deputy commander for the Crime Suppression Division, Anek Taosupap, says Natchaya Resort has only 10 rooms, but since July, records show 9,263 people had checked in for a total of 92,028 room reservations. He says that amounts to 1,000 to 3,000 fake room reservations per day.

Police say the losses linked to the resort amount to around 14 million baht and the embezzlements linked to 101 local shops add up to 87 million baht.

Police arrested the hotel owner and 22 shop owners as well as people who allegedly controlled the beneficiaries’ accounts and people who allegedly opened bank accounts to embezzle money. Another person who recorded room reservations for the hotel was also arrested.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    brian mc

    Thursday, January 28, 2021 at 10:10 pm

    “…suspects faked shopping receipts and inflated room rates.” Inflated room rates? Where were they staying, at a bouncy castle?

  2. Avatar

    J West

    Friday, January 29, 2021 at 12:51 pm

    I remember observing a room rate rise at the time and asked around, ( Who’s paying that)? Some hotels, not to mention any names had jacked room rates up to where you could have thought you were booking a presidential suite in Manhattan, ridiculous pricing. A place I looked at a a popular southern island was asking $700+ a night…. more than a Mandarin Hotel in Singapore or London, by far.

    Now we know why. It was all a scam and none of these hotels didn’t care about booking guests at any price, only about the spread that scamming the government brought in.

    Sad, really, I had time to travel and would have done so if not turned off by the pricing offers being incompatible with my budget. I’m kind of miffed really. I feel slighted by this example of corruption. And I’m sure all the little businesses I didn’t get to spend money in are equally as underwhelmed.

  3. Avatar

    brian mc

    Friday, January 29, 2021 at 8:39 pm

    they should check the foundations of these hotels to see if they are still structurally sound. Too much subsidy can cause a lot of structural damage.

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Crime

Thai man accidentally kills himself with homemade bomb

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Thai man accidentally kills himself with homemade bomb | The Thaiger

A young Thai man has accidentally killed himself with a homemade bomb in the Muang district of Kanchanaburi province this morning. 22 year old Amornthep Thongchomphu was found dead with his arm blown off after the bomb exploded in a field near his home.

Local police went to the scene at about 11am, outside the man’s house in Ban Nong Kung village of tambon Ban Thum. Police found the man’s dead body along with a scorched, ruptured PVC pipe. Village headman Boonruam Somwongsa says Amornthap stayed alone in the house as his mother worked abroad, sending home money. He was apparently jobless and was not known to socialise.

Boonruam says the man allegedly had a dispute with a neighbour previously and on 2 occasions had thrown a small bomb at his neighbour’s house, leading him to file a complaint. Boonruam says it was likely that Amornthep was making another bomb to throw at his neighbour when it accidentally detonated.

The Ban Ped police chief says another small homemade bomb was found at Amornthep’s house, with its components being possibly bought from online.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Crime

Motorbike taxi attacked tourist in Pattaya because he was annoyed

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Motorbike taxi attacked tourist in Pattaya because he was annoyed | The Thaiger

A Pattaya motorbike taxi driver is saying he was annoyed when he attacked a Chilean man out of nowhereearly yesterday morning. Amorn “Jeab” Boonmee was arrested after confessing to allegedly slapping and kicking 24 year old Salvatore Andres Castromedina, breaking his nose. According Khaosod English, Amorn says he acted in a “blind moment of fury” because he was annoyed by the man.

“I apologize. I was annoyed at the tourist who came up to speak to me and I didn’t understand what he was saying. He wouldn’t go when I told him to. I’m someone who gets annoyed easily, especially at people who talk a lot.”

Amorn allegedly attacked the man on Pattaya’s famous Walking Street at about 2am on Thursday with CCTV capturing the alleged incident.

Police say the incident has damaged Pattaya and Thailand’s overall image as well as its tourism. Investigators say they are waiting for a full medical report of Castromedina’s injuries before deciding what charges to bring upon Amorn.

According to Khaosod English, Castromedina said via an interpreter that this was his first time in Thailand. He went on to explain that he was asking the taxi driver for a ride to Soi Buakhao before being attacked.

According to Khaosod English, another motorbike taxi driver was seen in the CCTV footage. 45 year old Rittisak Kulsumaso says he tried to stop Amorn from attacking Castromedina.

“I really didn’t want this to happen. It’s already hard to make money. [Castromedina] had also been drinking alcohol.”

Rittisak says he is the one who took Castromedina to the police station to file a report. He also says he turned himself in after the incident took place. Castromedina was sent to the hospital after the attack for medical treatment. According to Khaosod English, a picture shows police officers giving Castromedina a basket of chicken essence soup, wishing him a speedy recovery.

SOURCE: Khaosod English

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Crime

Police officer arrested for allegedly stealing grenade launcher and other weapons

Caitlin Ashworth

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Police officer arrested for allegedly stealing grenade launcher and other weapons | The Thaiger
SOURCE: Nation Thailand

A police officer was arrested for allegedly stealing a M79 grenade launcher and other weapons from a police station armoury in Mae Hong Son, a province in Northern Thailand bordering Myanmar. Police say officer Santichai Luerat planned to sell the guns and ammunition to a buyer who would then sell the weapons to members of an ethnic minority across the border in Myanmar.

Sao Hin Police Station commissioner says he noticed a number of weapons were missing from the station’s amoury – a M79 grenade launcher, 9 guns, 21 rifles and a flak jacket. A video recorder was also stolen, police say. Police have confiscated 4 of the stolen guns, 6 rifles and the flak jacket, but the rest of the weapons are still missing.

Santichai is an officer from the Kong Koi Police Station and lives near the Sao Hin station. Reports do not say what charges the officer faces or if he was transferred from his post. Police are still investigating and searching for the missing grenade launcher, guns and rifles.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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