'Blind' beggar caught driving SUV, fined B1,000

'Blind' beggar caught driving SUV, fined B1,000

A man dressed in ragged clothes is seen after parking his SUV outside a temple in Nonthaburi. He appeared shortly after at a nearby market masquerading as a blind man and begging for money. (A screenshot from the clip)
A man dressed in ragged clothes is seen after parking his SUV outside a temple in Nonthaburi. He appeared shortly after at a nearby market masquerading as a blind man and begging for money. (A screenshot from the clip)

An addicted gambler who masqueraded as a blind beggar to pay his debts has told police it was his daughter's fault - she was working overseas and refused to send him the money.

Somporn Kueyen's cover was blown when a video posted on social media showed him parking a Toyota Fortuner outside a temple in Bang Yai, Nonthaburi.

He was wearing ragged clothing, and was seen shortly after posing as a blind beggar, complete with dark eye-glasses, in a nearby market.

Asked to explain, he reported to Bang Yai police on Wednesday and claimed he was rebelling against his daughter's refusal to give him money. He admitted he was a gambling addict, Pol Col Surapoj Rodbamrung, chief of Bang Yai police, said. 

The 65-year-old told police he used to have a prawn farm and sell pork, but fell into debt and shut the business down.

He then returned to his home province in Nakhon Pathom to raise chickens, but that business flopped too.  

He asked his daughter who worked in the United States for 15,000 baht, but she would not send him any money, he claimed.

So he decided to get even by begging, masquerading as a blind man to get people's sympathy.

He liked to sing and earned 100-200 baht a day, Pol Col Surapoj said. Mr Somporn admitted to begging "two or three times". 

Police fined him the maximum 1,000 baht for violation of the Beggar Control Act. He promised not to do it again, Pol Col Surapoj said.

The clip was posted by Facebook user Chutala Joy on Tuesday, and drew drew strong criticism of the "beggar".  Some people speculated he might be a police agent masquerading as a beggar to gather information.

It also came to the attention of local police, who watched the clip and promised to find him.

Thai media quickly reported Mr Somporn was not blind and lived with his wife in a two-story townhouse in Nonthaburi. 

Neighbours said they did not know what Mr Somporn did for a living. They just saw him driving his car from the house around 3-4am every day and returning home at night.

Vendors at  the market in Bang Yai district where Mr Somporn begged for money said they were disappointed to learn the truth, that his blindness was just a lie to get money from kind-hearted  people. 

A video clip, posted on @Perdpongv2 Facebook page, shows a man in ragged clothing leaving a Fortuner vehicle parked outside a temple in Nonthaburi. He later showed up at a nearby market wearing black glasses like a blind man and begging for money.


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