Donations-rich cab driver accused of lying

Donations-rich cab driver accused of lying

Taxi driver Sitthichai Klaichit poses for photos posted on a TV reporter's
Taxi driver Sitthichai Klaichit poses for photos posted on a TV reporter's "Paew Waew" Facebook account last month, while telling her how poor and alone he was.

A taxi operator has accused an elderly cab driver whose sob story drew overnight donations of more than 8 million baht of lying about how poor he was.

Media reported that Preecha Chumsombat, the 49-year-old owner of Mangkorn Chao Phraya taxi depot, filed his complaint with police in Muang district of Samut Prakan on Monday accusing Sitthichai Klaichit, 72, and his son of failing to pay a combined debt of about 14,000 baht.

Last month, a tearful Mr Sitthichai told a TV reporter at a delivery firm's warehouse in Bang Phli district of Samut Prakan that the coronavirus pandemic made it very hard for him to make a living as a taxi driver.

He was alone and had to deliver goods for a courier firm to make ends meet. He showed he had only 200 baht in his wallet.

The reporter told the story in her Facebook page and overnight he received cash donations totalling about 8.3 million baht.

He said he planned to buy a secondhand taxi, donate money to a hospital and to help forest fire fighters, help other poor taxi drivers, and build his own house, because he was currently renting.

However, Mr Preecha told media Mr Sitthichai and his son rented taxis from him and owed him 13,750 baht.

Mr Preecha said when he learned of the 8.3 million baht in donations, he demanded Mr Sitthichai and his son pay the money they owed him, but to no avail. Now, he could not contact them, Mr Preecha said.

The taxi owner also said Mr Sitthichai lived with his son in a house owned by his ex-wife, and was not as badly off as he claimed to be. 

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