Tourism Authority of Thailand to press for charges next week

Tourism Authority of Thailand to press for charges next week

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will call on police to file charges against those accused of defrauding the "Rao Tiew Duay Kan" (We Travel Together) tourism stimulus package next week, says national police chief Pol Gen Suwat Jangyodsuk.

He said more fraudsters were still being identified and so far at least 800 hotels and shops across a number of provinces were suspected of being complicit in the fraud.

The Crime Suppression Division (CSD) said earlier that many hotels, especially ones in Chaiyaphum and Phuket, were exploiting the Rao Tiew Duay Kan scheme.

Division investigators were looking into fraud cases at 55 hotels in these provinces alone, according to a police source.

Fifty suspects working at these hotels had been arrested and the CSD is preparing charges against the individuals who worked together to make false claims. One case in Chaiyaphum allegedly involved about 9,000 accomplices who used social media to defraud people.

On Thursday, Pol Gen Suwat said the TAT was preparing evidence to be presented to the CSD next week. The agency will also seek the prosecution of the fraudsters and their accomplices.

The CSD has asked police at 1,400 stations across the country to help investigate subsidy scheme fraud cases. The stations cover 900 areas where the suspects are located, according to the Royal Thai Police.

Those targeted are hotels, fraudsters and the scheme beneficiaries who knowingly colluded in exploiting the co-payment scheme subsidies.

Participants in the scheme pay only 60% of normal hotel room rates, with the government responsible for the rest.

Tourists also receive an e-voucher for other spending valued at 600 baht from Friday to Sunday and 900 baht from Monday to Thursday. The government also helps pay 40% of the price of air tickets, up to 3,000 baht per person.

Police said many people were paid to sign up for the scheme so cheaters could take full advantage of the privileges.

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