Cash giveaway creates crowds, confusion


PHUKET CITY: The first day for mid- and low-wage workers to pick up 2,000-baht checks offered under the government’s economic stimulus package saw a huge crowd form at Phuket Community Hall in Phuket City on yesterday.

Many people were confused by the process, which involves first making a trip to the nearby Social Security Office to see what day the checks will become available.

Those whose names were on the first of three batches were then able to pick up the check at the Community Hall, about half a kilometer away.

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Island-wide, about 7,000 people got checks on the first day.

Qualified residents were able to cash the checks on the spot at a table set up by Bangkok Bank.

Central Festival and Big C also had booths and offered recipients extra purchasing power in the form of gift vouchers worth Bt2,200 and Bt2,100 for people exchanging the checks at their department stores.

The period to pick up the checks runs until April 8.

The checks are available to civil servants and those with jobs registered with the Social Security Fund making less than 15,000 baht per month. Foreigners are not eligible.

Over 100,000 people in Phuket’s three districts (Muang, Kathu, Thalang) will receive checks, which the government hopes they will pump back into the economy by spending.

Residents in most of Muang District can pick up their checks at Phuket Community Hall, where the checks will become available in batches determined in alphabetical order by surnames.

Residents of Chalong, Rawai and Karon will get their checks at Muang Phuket School in Rawai on April 2 to 8.

Thalang residents can pick up checks at Thalang Pranangsang School until April 8.

In Kathu, the checks will be available at Kathu Wittaya School from March 26 to 28 and at Wat Suwankeereewong School in Patong from March 29 to April 8.

Phuket Social Security Office head Pontip Tanthai told the Gazette she was confident that all those eligible for checks would get them and that nobody would be left out.

Most of the recipients the Gazette spoke to said they planned to spend the money on household goods needed by their families.

Similar scenes took place yesterday across the country. Overall, some eight million people will receive the checks, which make up about 10% of the government’s 117-billion-baht stimulus package.

Phuket News

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