CHIANG MAI - Authorities of this northern province on Friday offered moral and financial support to the hill tribe family whose daughters were wrongfully accused in international media of stealing a wristwatch from a foreign visitor at a tourist attraction.
Chiang Mai governor Pawin Chamniprasart, his wife Monsuda, who is the provincial Thai Red Cross president, and other local authorities visited the Hmong family in Ban Doi Pui village in Muang Chiang Mai district.
The delegation consoled two Hmong siblings aged 10 and seven after foreign media including The Sun posted reports late last month on a foreign tourist claiming her wristwatch had been stolen by the sisters when she was posing for a snapshot with them in Hmong traditional dresses.
The photo was posted online showing the faces of the accused girls. But later, the social media poster who started the story reportedly said the tourist had later found the wristwatch. Since the loss was not reported to police, there was no formal investigation.
The Chiang Mai governor gave a cash gift to the girl's family to lift their morale and said police doubted earlier reports and afterwards it was proved that the young siblings were innocent.
The governor said he was concerned about the two girls and arranged for their return to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep for their donation-raising photo activities. However, he would ensure the activities were held in an orderly and visitor-friendly manner.
His delegation also gave scholarships to the girls and promised to help improve their house.
Foreign media picked up the story from Reddit posted by a user who claimed to be the boyfriend of the tourist 11 days ago. The post was later deleted after it attracted more than 4,000 comments.