The teacher paid locals 200 baht and stole their ID, using it to register them in the system fraudulently.
When: February 6th, 2021
Where: Ban Pet subdistrict, Khon Kaen province
Perpetrators: Dr. Phu Pha Phum
Victims: 38 locals
What: On February 6th, 2021, a teacher in Khon Kaen was arrested after an investigation into a fraudulent scheme involving the “We Travel Together” 50/50 program sponsored by the Thai government.
The program normally works when a Thai citizen registers with their ID on the app and system and uses the benefit to get money back from participating vendors, such as restaurants or shops. There’s a limit per day and a total limit to the program.
The investigation stems from Dr. Phu’s actions from October 2020. At that time, he went to a local village and handed out 200 baht per person, telling the locals that it was government aid. He took the name and a photo of the ID of the locals who accepted the 200 baht.
He used this information to register the locals in the “We Travel Together” system, presumably reselling or otherwise profiting from the scheme.
The fraud unraveled when the locals tried registering for the program themselves and were told that they had already been registered in the system. The locals confronted Dr. Phu and he tried offering 1,000 – 2,000 baht in compensation for those he defrauded. The locals didn’t take the payment and filed an official complaint.
Dr. Phu is charged with computer crimes and theft.
A further update to the case stated that there may be 3 or 4 other government officials involved with the fraud. If investigators find any evidence to this effect, there will be immediate disciplinary action.
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My take: This isn’t the first time this government program was defrauded. From what I understand it’s been very difficult for many Thais to even register in the system.
It seems like a program like this is rife with abuse, but what other way can the government hand out benefits?
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