Debt plagues even Thailand’s lucky lottery jackpot winners

A Thai woman who sells eggs at a market in Prachin Buri province, central Thailand, won the first prize of six million baht in the government lottery yesterday, but it’s still not enough to pay off her 10 million baht debt.

Upon realising she won the lottery, Siriphan aka “Amy” gave away 500 trays of chicken and duck eggs at Kong Tai Fresh Market in Tha Thum subdistrict, Si Maha Phot district – despite still owing 4 million baht in debt.

Amy bought a ticket with the winning number 025873, revealing that she chose this ticket after her mother said that a Buddhist nun revealed the number 3 to her in a dream. So, Amy picked out a ticket ending with the number 3.

In yesterday’s lottery draw, the number 73 was drawn for the last two-digit prize of 2,000 baht as well as being the last two digits in the draw for the first prize.

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At first, Amy saw the lottery results and felt overjoyed to have won the last two digits prize of 2,000 baht. Then, she realised she’d also won the first prize of six million. She said she didn’t believe it at first.

Despite her debt still not being cleared, Amy said the money relieves the burden considerably. She believes she won the lottery as a result of making merit.

The egg seller said that although she owes money, she will give away another truckload of eggs.

Household debt is at an all-time high in Thailand. So much so, it’s become a trend that when lottery winners are asked what they will do with their newfound millions, almost every time, they respond, “pay back my debts.”

Two weeks ago, a meatball seller named Champa, from Buriram, won 6 million baht in the lottery. Champa revealed she would use the winnings to pay back her debts and anything leftover would go toward her children’s education.

Last month, 72 year old Phuangphet – a fried chive cake merchant – won 12 million baht in the lottery after buying two winning tickets. The elderly lady said…

The first thing I will do is pay back my debts.”

Last month, a fruit vendor won 30 million baht in the lottery with five winning tickets. He said…

Once I have received my winnings, I will pay off my debts and move my family back to our hometown in Khon Kaen in northeast Thailand. The money that is leftover will be invested and used to pay for the education of my two children.”

In December, a “Win” motorbike taxi driver named Ek won 12 million baht in the lottery. Ek didn’t want to be interviewed but briefly told reporters that he would use the money to pay off debts, make merit for his deceased ex-wife and take good care of his daughter.

Yesterday, one anonymous lucky winner won 108 million baht in the digital lottery after buying 18 identical winning tickets.

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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