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Hundreds of tourism operators face fraud charges for allegedly cheating subsidy scheme

Caitlin Ashworth

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PHOTO: Siamrath

Hundreds of tourism operators face fraud charges for allegedly cheating the government’s “We Travel Together” subsidy scheme which was intended to help tourism businesses financially hit by the coronavirus pandemic and stimulate travel.

Instead of lowering prices to draw in more travellers, some hoteliers and restaurateurs allegedly raised their prices to get more subsidies. The scheme paid 40% of room rates for travellers and offered e-vouchers worth 600 baht to 900 baht for a traveller’s daily spending. Apparently, there were even fake hotel bookings, including from hotels that were no longer open, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, or TAT.

TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn filed a complaint against 312 hotels and 202 shops as well as a few customers. He met with deputy national police chief Damrongsak Kittiprapat to report evidence of fraudulent transactions and ask police to prosecute the tourism operators. The government is preparing a second phase of the “We Travel Together” scheme and Yuthasak says legal action needed to be taken before the second phase is launched.

The Crime Suppression Division will investigate the case, Damrongsak says.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Mister Stretch

    Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 5:19 pm

    “Hundreds of tourism operators face fraud charges for allegedly cheating the government’s “We Travel Together” subsidy scheme which was intended to help tourism businesses financially hit by the coronavirus pandemic and stimulate travel.”

    All those surprised, raise your right hand.

    Right.

    • Avatar

      Rasputin

      Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 5:28 pm

      Well my hand is still firmly in my pocket!!! What on earth did the Thai government expect?

      • Avatar

        Ynwaps

        Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 8:41 pm

        Everything according to plan. They investigated and found a couple poor humans who thought it be smart to cheat the system. Now they’re being prosecuted and it will be a warning for the next hotel stimulus.

        The rules are obviously not good enough to prevent fraud so Thailand might be investing into crypto AI blockchain projects to prevent fraud. This should also help smaller tourism businesses financially, without the fear of being falsely prosecuted.

  2. Avatar

    Mike

    Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 6:43 pm

    What a surprise! I’m totally shocked a Thai would do such a thing !

  3. Avatar

    Mikael Tonning Chokprod

    Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 7:34 pm

    555 BIG surprise

  4. Avatar

    Issan John

    Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 9:37 pm

    What does ANY government expect?!

    Look at the “Eat Out to Help Out” schemes in the UK and elsewhere.

    All doomed to failure and inviting fraud – how could it be otherwise, anywhere?

    The only difference appears to be that other countries realised it was going to happen and did it anyway, hoping it would be a boost to the economy even if it wasn’t across the board, and the Thai authorities somehow expected everyone to be honest.

    Naive is hardly the right word.

  5. Avatar

    Larry

    Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 10:53 pm

    Amazing Thailand:((

  6. Avatar

    Paulnou

    Wednesday, December 16, 2020 at 11:12 pm

    They had a budget to spend for helping hotels & restaurants, budget being used up so it worked, benefiaries are hotels + restaurants or not ?
    Guess they should only procecute obviously closed ones in looking at where they also sent the subsidies

  7. Avatar

    ThomasW

    Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 1:32 am

    This can’t be made up. Thailand cheats Thailand. Awesome. Thai greed has no limits, it had to expected. They not only destroyed the foreign market, they now sunk the domestic market as well.

  8. Avatar

    albert zweistein

    Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 4:07 am

    TIT, explains everything.

  9. Avatar

    MasterOfDisaster

    Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 7:40 am

    Land of SCAM!!

  10. Avatar

    Geoff

    Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 12:02 pm

    A lot of “misunderstandings”? Thainess – love it!

  11. Avatar

    Preesy Chepuce

    Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 2:24 pm

    Sounds almost like a honey trap.

  12. Avatar

    Andy

    Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 2:33 pm

    LoS but….NOT Smiles!

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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.

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